1. South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Hong-won (fourth from right to left) and government officials saluting during inauguration ceremony of Ministry of Public Safety and Security and Ministry of Personnel Management
2. Vice-Minister of Public Safety and Security Lee Sung-ho (left), pan right to Chung and Minister of Personnel Management Lee Geun-myeon (on right) saluting
3. Government officials in silent prayer to pay tribute to deceased workers of National Emergency Management
SOUTH KOREAN COASTGUARD
FILE: Yellow Sea near Jindo island - 16 April 2014
4. Sewol ferry sinking
5. Rescuers on boats during rescue operation
6. Sewol ferry sinking
Seoul - 19 November 2014
7. Wide of Chung speaking on stage
8. Officials listening to speech
9. SOUNDBITE (Korean) Chung Hong-won, South Korean Prime Minister:
"Taking a lesson from the painful accident of the Sewol ferry, (the safety ministry) should greatly step up anti-disaster capabilities. The ministry should show a completely different image by doubling its capacity to control and manage disaster situations."
10. Cutaway of officials listening to speech
11. SOUNDBITE (Korean) Chung Hong-won, South Korean Prime Minister:
"The Ministry of Public Safety and Security should perfectly guarantee citizens' safety by establishing an effective integrated disaster response system at the earliest time possible. As separate organisations came together as one ministry, command structures should be firmly equipped as soon as possible by the harmonious integration among members."
12. Officials listening to speech
13. Representatives of Ministry workers reciting declaration
South Korea's prime minister participated on Wednesday in a ceremony for the launch of a new South Korean safety ministry created in response to April's Sewol ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Security is a broader safety agency established as a part of South Korean government's restructuring plans, which include disbanding the coast guard and transferring its responsibilities to the safety agency and the national police agency.
The coast guard has faced withering public criticism over its failure to rescue passengers trapped in the ferry that sank on its way to a holiday island.
The Ministry of Personnel Management was also launched on Wednesday and will be looking over government personnel matters.
Prime Minister Chung Hong-won at the ceremony said the new safety ministry should "greatly step up" anti-disaster capabilities and guarantee the safety of the population through an "effective integrated disaster response system."
The safety agency will incorporate some duties of the coast guard and the security and public administration ministry, and take over the state disaster office.
On Tuesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye nominated a retired navy general as head of the ministry.
Park In-yong is a former deputy head of the military's joint chiefs of staff, according to the presidential Blue House.
His nomination is required to undergo a parliamentary hearing, although the appointment does not need a legislative endorsement.
More than seven months after the sinking, 295 bodies have been recovered but nine others are still missing.
South Korea last week stopped underwater searches for the missing citing low chances of finding more bodies and safety concerns for divers.
Authorities blamed crew member's negligence and abandonment of passengers, overloaded cargo, improper storage and untimely rescue efforts for the sinking.
A South Korean court last week gave a 36-year prison term to the ferry's captain and sentenced 14 other navigation crew members to five to 30 years in prison.