Lim beat five rivals from Denmark, Russia, Cyprus, the Philippines and Kenya in a vote at the 40-member IMO Council today; the council's decision will be put to the IMO Assembly for approval in November.
'IMO has been the backbone of my professional career,' Lim told Seatrade as he announced he was standing in the election, adding that he has been attending various IMO meetings since 1986.
'As a maritime professional with lifetime experience in a wide spectrum of maritime trades including seafaring, international maritime regulation and port operation, I believe I have the competence to serve IMO for its brighter future,' Lim added.
Lim's career includes various posts at the South Korean embassy in London, and he has served as chairman of the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation at the IMO. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in nautical science from Korea Maritime University and holds master's degrees in political science and maritime safety administration.
Lim's campaign was the first to gain the official backing of a voting nation when Panama announced it would be backing the BPA president.
After interviewing all the candidates and reviewing their answers to a questionnaire, Jorge Barakat, minister of maritime affairs and administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority, said: 'We have decided that with the clearest vision of what needed to be done [at the IMO] and with the focus on the integral development of the organisation, the best of all was Lim Ki-tack.'
The current IMO secretary-general, Japan's Koji Sekimizu, is not standing for re-election. Sekimizu's four-year term will come to an end at the close of 2015, as he has chosen to focus his time and attention on caring for his wife, who has a medical condition.
After announcing he would be stepping down, Sekimizu gave a moving speech as he accepted the 2015 Seatrade Personality Award earlier this year.