South Korean offshore and marine giant Hyundai Heavy Industries has reshuffled key management positions in the wake of a stream of fatal accidents this year at its Ulsan yard.

Lee Sang-Kyun has been named as the chief executive of Hyundai Heavy’s shipbuilding business while the contractor’s vice president Ha Soo has voluntarily resigned, taking responsibility for the four fatal incidents in 2020.

“I sincerely apologise for causing concern to the community as well as the public due to the serious incidents at (Hyundai),” group chairman Kwon Oh-gap said on Monday.

As the number of safety accidents that have increased suddenly this year, we need to re-examine them at a fundamental level to see if the existing safety measures are losing their effectiveness."

Hyundai said it would expand and reorganise its existing production sites in order to make safety a top priority, while actively injecting human and material resources to prevent accidents by re-examining safety protocols and safety education systems.

The contractor is investigating last week's death of a worker — the fourth fatal incident at its Ulsan yard this year.

Kim Hyung-kwan will replace Lee as the president of subsidiary Hyundai Samho.