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September 2004 - Chagos


The Chagos archipelago is a British Indian Ocean Territory. The largest island, Diego Garcia, has been made available to the United States as a military base and is off limits to yachts.

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.

People on visiting yachts are not allowed to spend the night ashore and, at least in principle, the authorities expect yachts to spend no longer than three months in the islands. It is in the best interests of all sailors not to upset the present status quo by abusing this tolerance.

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.

(Source: Noonsite)

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