Andaman Islands Cruising

Tips for entry and immigration procedures into Port Blair Harbour, as well as anchorages around the Andaman Islands.

Published 4 years ago


Port Blair Harbour will not let yachts enter at night so time your entry for daylight. When you are 12 miles out call Port Blair Harbour Control on VHF 16 with your details. Port Blair is the major port and also a sensitive naval base so please observe all formalities including advising Harbour Control every time you move around or in and out of the harbour. They also require you to call in your position morning and night giving your current anchorage when outside the harbour (although we found that when we were in one position for quite some time we could call them once every few days and they were happy). If you cannot get through on 16 calls on 6220 KH between 0700 and 1900 hours, or 3632.5 KH between 1901 and 0659 hours.

When you have entered the harbour (holding the northern side) you may be required to anchor behind Ross Island to complete customs formalities (they have their own boat) and then move to the west side of Chatham Island (approx. 11°4l’10” N / 92°43 ’40” E around behind the five smokestacks of the power plant). Immigration will board you there (Harbour Control organises this but Immigration does not have a boat so they will have to be dinghied out). They will call you from the adjacent road. It can take half a day for them to arrive. When you request to enter the harbour it is better if you tell the harbour master that you will anchor behind Chatham Island i.e. not ask the Harbour Master for a location to anchor. This will save anchoring twice and all formalities are completed in the one spot. The customs official will be on a nine-month transfer from mainland India. He may request a “gift.” A couple of cans of beer or the equivalent will suffice as a gift for him to take home. The immigration and harbour master officials are great and are honest and do not require “gifts” but an offer of a sail for their families may go over well. Make it short though, as they will probably get seasick.

Immigration will probably need to take your passports with them for two to three days (no problem) and when they bring them back they will issue you with a 30-day travel permit. The form has on its bottom left-hand corner the code “MGPPB-39 P&icei9S-2000;” (items 2 & 6 do not apply to yachts). The form is in triplicate: one copy you keep and you have to deliver another copy to Harbour Master Administration at Phoenix Bay and the other copy to the Chief Wildlife Warden whose building is halfway along the first road to the right (rises up a hill, keep left) after you leave Chatham Bridge off the road that follows the bay to town. If you go past the Chief Wildlife Warden’s building you will eventually come out on the top of the hill near Teal House (where the “Man in search of Man” film is shown).

When you clear out a motorbike is needed as Immigration will be found in the Police Department Criminal Investigation Building about 400 meters west of the clock tower. Customs is about 700 meters over the hill past Raj Nevis (the Lieutenant Governor’s residence). The Harbour Control Signals Office, where Harbour Control Radio is located, is in the tower on Chatham Island. The Harbour Master Administration is near Pier 1 at Phoenix Bay. Check out involves trips to Harbour Control Signals for payment of harbour dues (not much – one month costs about 600 rupees). You pay dues for every day, even when you are out of the harbour visiting the islands. Then visit Harbour Control Administration for a letter stating that they have no objection to you leaving. Then you go to Customs and then to Immigration. You will need a full morning to achieve all of this.

The local tour operators are worried that the yachts will damage their business so please use the local boats for Ross Island (very interesting, was called Paris of the East), Jolly Buoy and Red Skin (great coral, different fish) and South Cinque. Take your own snorkel gear, drink and food as there is none available on either island. At Port Blair see the Cellular Jail, Anthropological Museum, Mini Zoo and library, Maritime Museum, Goldsmith shop (8abu Lane, I 00 meter downhill from Suzuki shop) ask Prem to show you the gold anchor pendants he makes (across the street is an electrical shop that can rewind motors), Corbyn Cove Beach and also see a screening of the film ‘Man on Man” shown free at various resorts, which has very interesting footage on the tribal peoples.

Good eating houses are Air-condition Restaurant (across the road down from Immigration), Islet Restaurant (near Cellular Jail), Bay Island Hotel (great views over harbour), The Waves – lunch only (Corbyn Cove), The China Room Restaurant (near Bay Island Hotel but overlooking town).

NORTH SENTINEL (11º30’N 92º15’E)

Today, most of the Negritos have been civilised, which means marginalized and mixed with Indian settlers. Here the 150 Negrito inhabitants fiercely resist all contact with the outside world. As soon as a government boat – with administrators and/or anthropologists – tries to land, they are met with arrows and stones. So far, nobody has dared to venture ashore.


Your tour permit does not let you stay overnight at Red Skin, Jolly Buoy or South Cinque Islands and it is too far to travel there and back to Port Blair in one day by yacht.

NEIL ISLAND (11º48’N 93º03’E) – Permitted overnight anchorages.

HAVELOCK ISLAND (11º53’N 93º1’E) has permitted overnight anchorages. Radhanagar Beach is a superb fine sand beach with a backdrop of huge 60-metre high forest trees. There is no noise, no traffic. Bananas, guava and fish are available. Mopeds can be hired for 200 rupees per day at the green shed in the camping area. It is worth the effort to explore the island by bike, you will find a fruit and vegetable market and bread at the jetty and a logging camp where you can watch elephants at work.

Other permitted overnight anchorages are on : LONG ISLAND (12º21N 92º55E), RANGAT (12º28’N 92º56E), MAYABUNDER and DIGILIPUR (13º15’N 92º59’E).

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