BIOT (Chagos) - Profile
- The Chagos Archipelago is constituted as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which is one of fourteen UK Overseas Territories.
- BIOT is not a tourist destination. Access is restricted and a permit is required in advance of travel. There are no commercial flights and mooring permits are only issued to yachts in exceptional circumstances.
- BIOT is extremely remote. There are no banks, electricity, Wi-Fi, stores, diesel mechanics, sail lofts, cafes, stores, or health clinics. When you visit Chagos you should plan on being 100% self-sufficient.
- Access to Diego Garcia is only permitted to those on pre-authorised official duty.
- The islands are uninhabited except for Diego Garcia which has about 3,000 military and civilian personnel stationed there. A brief history of the Territory can be found at page 96 of the following document: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/12249/ot-wp-0612.pdf
- Vessels who wish to enter BIOT waters and moor, whether for one night or one month, must apply in advance to the BIOT Administration (BIOTA) for Immigration clearance and a permit. If granted, the mooring fee must also be paid in advance (see Clearance). BIOTA states that any person who enters BIOT without permission may be liable to imprisonment for 3 years and/or a fine of £10,000 and the vessel used to enter BIOT waters may be seized and forfeited.
- BIOT Customs and Immigration officials visit the approved mooring sites on their patrols to check permits and passports. The passports of all passengers/crew will be checked against the permit issued. You will be asked to explain any discrepancies. People on visiting yachts are not allowed to spend the night ashore.
- BIOT hosts the world’s largest contiguous Marine Protected Area and the largest expanse of undisturbed coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, as well as globally significant populations of endangered species of birds and other wildlife. There are strict conservation rules, which must be observed in order to preserve this unique sanctuary in its present state (see Restrictions).
- It is not recommended to enter BIOT at night, there are simply too many interior reefs and coral heads to avoid (charted and uncharted). Good light and eyeball navigation is required within the lagoon.
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