Chagos - Profile
- The Chagos archipelago is a British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The largest island, Diego Garcia, has been made available to the United States as a military base and is off limits to yachts. There are also only a number of approved sites at which visiting yachts may anchor. Failure to not comply will result in a spot fine of £500.
- The islands are uninhabited except for Diego Garcia which has about 3000 military and civilian personnel stationed there. The original inhabitants, who lived on the islands for two centuries before being resettled in Mauritius in the 1960s, won the right to go back to all islands except Diego Garcia on November 3, 2000 in the High Court in London.
- All cruising boats planning on stopping in Chagos, whether for one night or one month, must apply to BIOT for a permit in advance and pay the mooring fee in advance (see Clearance). BIOT state that any person who enters Chagos without a permit is liable to imprisonment for 3 years and/or a fine of £3000.
- BIOT Customs and Immigration officials visit the approved mooring sites to check permits and passports. The passports of all passengers/crew will be checked against the details provided on the Visit Permit Request form. You will be asked to explain any discrepancies. People on visiting yachts are not allowed to spend the night ashore.
- The archipelago has the largest expanse of undisturbed coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, as well as rare and 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).
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