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Grounded Ship's Skipper Held for Obstructing Runway

Date Posted: 2000-10-06

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) The Japan Coast Guard arrested a ship's captain from Taiwan early Friday for obstructing air traffic at Okinawa's Naha airport by running his 42-meter-long ship aground near the airport's runway.

Feng Shi-an, 46, is suspected of steering his Taiwan-registered ship onto a reef 850 meters north of the end of the runway around 7:10 a.m. Thursday. The position of the 12,406-ton freighter, the Uni Moral, posed a threat to air traffic at the airport, according to coast guard officials. Air traffic was suspended from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., when the ship managed to leave the location, airport officials said.

A total of 59 flights were cancelled, while some were diverted to other destinations, including Kadena Air Base on Okinawa Island and Kagoshima airport. About 10,000 passengers were affected, airlines said.

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