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By No owner — last modified Sep 17, 2012 05:49 AM

 Chagos - Formalities

Clearance

Yachts wishing to visit Chagos must apply for a permit in advance and the fee is also payable in advance. Payment is by bank transfer only. The application will take several weeks.

The rules governing mooring permits were changed on 01 January 2011. The fee structure is now a weekly fee of £50 and the maximum stay permitted is 28 days.

If required, there is a £50 per month fee for a gun license.

The Mooring Permit Application must be completed and returned to the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration (address below).

It is also necessary to read the Guidance Notes for Visitors which includes details of the permitted BIOT Mooring Sites.

The forms can be downloaded from the above links.

Alternatively contact:

BIOTAdmin@fco.gov.uk;
or request by fax at +44 (0) 20 7008 1589;
or by post from:
British Indian Ocean Territory Administration
King Charles Street
London, SW1A 2AH
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7008 2961 or 2890

Visiting yachts are permitted only to anchor in Peros Banhos and the Salomon Islands at the approved sites. Access to Diego Garcia, in Chagos, is only permitted to those with connections to the military facility.

You are subject to BIOT law when inside its territorial waters. If you break any of these laws, you will become subject, as in any country, to a range of censures and punishments, including fines, imprisonment, deportation, or the impounding of your vessel.

You should be aware that any person who enters BIOT without a permit is liable to imprisonment for 3 years and/or a fine of £3000.

Last updated January 2014.

Immigration

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.

Last updated January 2014.

Customs

There are severe pentalties for importing classified drugs, including cannabis.

Last updated January 2014.

Health

There are no medical facilities in the territory. Search and rescue facilities are limited. You are required to obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.

All combustible garbage is to be burned or removed. All other material is to be placed in the bins provided or removed. Any person found leaving litter/garbage other than in the bins provided is liable to an on-the-spot fine of £500. Failure to pay the fine could result, on conviction, to a term not exceeding 6 months and/or a fine not exceeding £3000.

Last updated January 2014.

Documents

The Permit for the length of your stay.

Comprehensive travel insurance covering the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Fees

The current fee for a permit to visit Chagos is GBP £50 for 1 week (or part of a week) - payable in advance by Paypal or bank transfer to BIOT. Visit the links above in "Clearance" to get the permit application form and payment details.

When visiting Chagos, you are subject to BIOT law when inside its territorial waters. If you break any of these laws, you will become subject, as in any country, to a range of censures and punishments, including fines, imprisonment, deportation, or the impounding of your vessel.

Any person who enters BIOT without a permit is liable to imprisonment for 3 years and/or a fine of £3000.

Last updated July 2012.

Restrictions

You must moor your vessel at the BIOT approved sites only, to help conserve BIOT’s fragile coral environment. If your vessel is not moored at one of the approved sites, you will be issued with an on-the-spot fine of £500. Failure to pay the fine could result, on conviction, to imprisonment not exceeding 6 months and/or a fine not exceeding £3000.

Any person anchoring at the strict nature reserve of Great Chagos Bank (The Three Brothers and Resurgent Island; Danger Island; Cow Island; Nelson Island) and Peros Banhos Atoll (all the islands to the east of a line drawn between the easternmost point of land on Moresby Island and the easternmost point of land on Fouquet Island - in practice, this means that one may only anchor off the western islands which is quite unsafe during the SE trade wind season), is liable to an on-the-spot fine of £1000. Failure to pay the fine could result, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months and/or to a fine not exceeding £5000, and to detention and forfeiture of any boat and equipment used when committing the offence.

The islands are a conservation area and all flora and fauna, such as turtles, coconut crabs, live coral and shells, are protected. Spearfishing and scuba diving are not allowed, nor should the heart of palm be taken. The only fishing that is allowed is with a hand line and cruisers should not take more than is needed for their own consumption.
Penalties for infringement of the regulations are severe.

For more information on regulations, read the document BIOT Laws and Guidance for visitors.

Last updated January 2014

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