Hawksbill turtle (Eretmocheyls imbricata) – known; leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) – possible; green turtle (Chelonia mydas) – known; olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys oliveacea) – possible; sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) – possible; sei whale (Balaeonoptera borealis) – possible; In February 2019, the International Court of Justice offered an advisory opinion that Britain’s decolonization of Mauritius was not completed lawfully because of the continued claims over the Chagos Archipelago. Local time is UTC+6 year-round (and since then in permanent DST). Most inhabitants of Diego Garcia through the period 1793–1971 were plantation workers, but also included Franco-Mauritian managers, Indo-Mauritian administrators, Mauritian and Seychellois contract employees, and in the late 19th century, Chinese and Somali employees. He said that the BIOT's former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve. [115] The remainder of the species list consists of cultivated food or ornamental species, grown in restricted environments such as a planter's pot. Diego Garcia is now a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, which critics paint as a vestige of the United Kingdom’s colonial past. [39], Neither the US nor the UK recognises Diego Garcia as being subject to the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, which lists BIOT as covered by the treaty. ... Mauritius says it was forced to trade the small archipelago in the Indian Ocean in 1965 for independence. PDF | The article focuses on the importance of Diego Garcia for maritime security in the Indian Ocean | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate [61][62][63] It is not publicly known whether nuclear weapons have ever been stored on the island. Diego Garcia lies at the southernmost tip of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast underwater mountain range[7] with peaks consisting of coral reefs, atolls, and islands comprising Lakshadweep, the Maldives, and the Chagos Archipelago. [47] No current agreement exists on how many of the evacuees met the criteria to be an Ilois, and thus be an indigenous person at the time of their removal, but the UK and Mauritian governments agreed in 1972 that 426 families,[48] numbering 1,151 individuals,[40] were due compensation payments as exiled Ilois. [72] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of the "high-value detainees" suspected to have been held in Diego Garcia. Given the international court decisions and U.N. action, specialists question whether London could legally offer a lease extension to the U.S., putting pressure on all sides to find a resolution. These included contract employees from the Philippines and Mauritius, including some Ilois. [49], Fifteen years after the last expulsion, the Chagossians received compensation from the British, totalling $6,000 per person; some Chagossians received nothing. Home to more than 1,000 US troops and staff, it has been … Other nesting native birds include red-tailed tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda), wedge-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus), Audubon's shearwater (Puffinus iherminierii), black-naped terns (Sterna sumatrana), white (or fairy) terns (Gygis alba), striated herons (Butorides striatus), and white-breasted waterhens (Amaurornis phoenicurus). [21] The supplies of the 275 settlers were overwhelmed by 250 survivors of the wreck of the British East Indian Ship Atlas in May, and the colony failed in October. The eventual number of Chagossians numbered around 1,000. Diego Garcia is critical in enabling US power projection into the Indian Ocean, Africa, and Middle East regions. [14], In June 2020, a Mauritian official offered to allow the United States to retain its military base on the island if Mauritius succeeded in regaining sovereignty over the Chagos archipelago. In: D. R. Stoddart (1971): "Land vegetation of Diego Garcia". [111] No terrestrial plant species are of any conservation-related concern at present. [25], In 1914, the island was visited by the German light cruiser SMS Emden halfway through its commerce-raiding cruise during the early months of World War I. Although Mauritius was used as a stopping point in t… [158] The Baffin Straits charter ran from 10 January 2005, to 30 September 2008, at a daily rate of US$12,550. On the heels of the International Court of Justice opinion, British officials echoed American arguments that the future of the Diego Garcia military facility cannot be compromised. The uninhabited islands are asserted to have been discovered by the Portuguese navigator, explorer, and diplomat Pedro Mascarenhas in 1512, first named as Dom Garcia, in honour of his patron, Dom Garcia de Noronha[17][18] when he was detached from the Portuguese India Armadas[19] during his voyage of 1512–1513. [35], The primary industry throughout the island's colonial period consisted of coconut plantations producing copra and/or coconut oil,[25] until closure of the plantations and relocation of the inhabitants in October 1971. UK MOD website on Permanent Joint Operating Base Diego Garcia. Significant saltwater wetlands called barachois exist in the southern half of the lagoon. Conspiracy theories aside, international opinion is clearly aligned against the U.S. and Britain. During April and May, winds are light and variable, ultimately backing to an east-southeasterly direction. here for reprint permission, ‘Wipe people out’: Republicans blast Big Tech’s bid to ‘erase’ Trump, supporters, Day of reckoning looms for Capitol Police after Congress stormed by protesters. Another Portuguese expedition with a Spanish explorer of Andalusian origin, Diego García de Moguer,[20] rediscovered the island in 1544 and named it after himself. [140], United States military activities in Diego Garcia have caused friction between India and the United States in the past. Although the Cantino planisphere (1504) and the Ruysch map (1507) clearly delineate the Maldive Islands, giving them the same names, they do not show any islands to the south which can be identified as the Chagos archipelago. [98], Thunderstorm activity is generally noticed during the afternoon and evenings during the summer months (December through March) and when the Intertropical Convergence Zone is in the vicinity of the island. [98] Humidity is high throughout the year. By 1973, construction of the Naval Communications Station (NAVCOMMSTA) was completed. The United States requested an unpopulated island belonging to the UK to avoid political difficulties with newly independent countries, and ultimately the UK and United States agreed that Diego Garcia was a suitable location. The channel and anchorage areas in the northern half of the lagoon are dredged, along with the pre-1971 ship turning basin. Also, 134 species of plants are classified as "weedy" or "naturalised alien species", being those unintentionally introduced by man, or intentionally introduced as ornamentals or crop plants which have now "gone native", including 32 new species recorded since 1995, indicating a very rapid rate of introduction. Adult hawksbills and greens are common in the surrounding seas and nest regularly on the ocean-side beaches of the atoll. Service personnel on the western arm of the island reported only a minor increase in wave activity. [98], Diego Garcia is at minimum risk from tropical cyclones due to its proximity to the equator where the coriolis parameter required to organise circulation of the upper atmosphere is minimal. During October and November, winds again go through a period of light and variable conditions veering to a westerly direction with the onset of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Only the U.S., Britain, Australia, Hungary, Israel and the Maldives voted against the measure. Situated in the Indian Ocean about equidistant from Africa to the west and Indonesia to the East, the BIOT consists of six main island groups that are part of the Chagos Archipelago. The largest, Diego Garcia, is the site of a military facility operated jointly by the United Kingdom and the United States. The Government of the BIOT consists of a commissioner appointed by the Queen. Throughout their recorded history, the plantations of the Chagos Archipelago had a population of approximately 1,000 individuals, about two-thirds of whom lived on Diego Garcia. The island was one of 33 emergency landing sites worldwide for the NASA Space Shuttle. The house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus), the mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris), the garden lizard (an agamid) (Calotes versicolor), and the cane toad (Bufo marinus). [5] Many were deported to Mauritius and the Seychelles, following which the United States built a large naval and military base, which has been in continuous operation since then. In addition, near-shore coral reefs and an algal platform may have dissipated much of the waves' impact. From 1881 until 1888, Diego Garcia was the location of two coaling stations for steamships crossing the Indian Ocean. The first map to delineate the island under its present name, Diego Garcia, is the World Map of Edward Wright (London 1599), possibly as a result of misreading Dio (or simply "D.") as Diego, and Gratia as Garcia. The complex arrangement has served the Pentagon well for decades. The official insisted that the establishment of a marine park—the world's largest—would in no way impinge on USG use of the BIOT, including Diego Garcia, for military purposes. In 1970, the island was leased to the United States, and developed as a joint U.S.-UK air and naval refueling and support station during the cold war. During the plantation era, Diego Garcia was home to large herds of Sicilian donkeys (Equus asinus), dozens of horses (Equus caballus), hundreds of dogs (Canis familiaris), and house cats (Felis catus). [28] Following the conclusion of hostilities, the station was closed on 30 April 1946. The British expulsion action remains in litigation as of 2016[update]. Diego Garcia provides suitable foraging and nesting habitat for both the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). The five native shrubs are: Caesalpinia bonduc, Pemphis acidula, Premna serratifolia, Scaevola taccada (often mispronounced "Scaveola"), and Suriana maritima. [110] None of these was endemic, and another survey in 2005 identified just 36 species as "native", meaning arriving without the assistance of humans, and found elsewhere in the world. Scientific expeditions in 1996 and 2006 described the lagoon and surrounding waters of Diego Garcia, along with the rest of the Chagos Archipelago, as "exceptionally unpolluted" and "pristine". Several months later, Pope Francis renewed pressure on London. Diego Garcia became a colony of the UK after the Napoleonic Wars as part of the Treaty of Paris (1814), and from 1814 to 1965 it was administered from Mauritius. These studies indicate the vegetation of the island may be changing rapidly. [132], During the Cold War era, following the British withdrawal from East of Suez, the United States was keen to establish a military base in the Indian Ocean to counter Soviet influence and establish American dominance in the region and protect its sea-lanes for oil transportation from the Middle East. The total land area is only about 60 sq km. The commissioner is assisted by an administrator and small staff, and is based in London and is resident in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Examples of ships are MV Buffalo Soldier, MV Green Ridge, pre-position tanker USNS Henry J. Kaiser, and tanker USNS Potomac (T-AO-181). [58] The BIOT administration was moved to Seychelles following the independence of Mauritius in 1968 until the independence of Seychelles in 1976,[24] and to a desk in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London since.[59]. Diurnal variation is roughly 3–4 °C (5.4–7.2 °F), falling to the low 27 °C (81 °F) by night. | ASIL", Mauritius to reiterate its conditions for renewed talks with UK on Chagos, "Chagossians fight for a home in paradise", "CIA interrogated suspects on Diego Garcia, says Colin Powell aide", "Terror suspects were interrogated on Diego Garcia, US official admits", "Written Answers to Questions 21 June 2004", "Detainee transcripts reveal more questions", "Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated", "Source: US Used UK Isle for Interrogations", "British island 'used by US for rendition, "Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: second report", "WikiLeaks, a forgotten people, and the record-breaking marine reserve, Posted by Sean Carey – 8 December 2010", "Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands: Chagos Banks", "Science of the Chagos – Chagos Conservation Trust", "Important Dates of the Provisional People's Democratic Republic of Diego Garcia", "Salt Water vs. Fresh Water – Ghyben-Herzberg Lens", "Diego Garcia Navy base reports no damage from quake, tsunamis", "The Tsunami, Shore Erosion and Corals in the Chagos Islands", "Klimatafel von Diego Garcia, Chagos-Archipel / Indischer Ozean / Großbritannien", Return of the Right Whale: Assessment of Abundance, Population Structure and Geneflow in the New Zealand Southern Right Whale, "The Status and Location of the Military Installations of the Member States of the European Union", "A Neo-Nixon Doctrine for the Indian Ocean: Helping States Help Themselves", "Liberty Hall One Step Closer to a Cool Summer", "United States Navy Diego Garcia Support Facility", "Access to Indian Military Bases: Making India an Appendage to US", "Mauritius may relent on US base in Diego Garcia", "MV SSG EDWARD A. CARTER, JR. (T-AK 4544)", "USNS 1ST LT BALDOMERO LOPEZ (T-AK 3010)", "The HF-GCS and Emergency Action Messages", "USAF High Frequency Global Communications System", "Change at the helm for MSC's Diego Garcia office", "2006 Pollution Prevention and Solid Waste Success Stories", "Non-union operator wins charter held by Sagamore", "British Indian Ocean Territory Plant Species Checklist", "Diego Garcia and American Security in the Indian Ocean,", Chagos Islands Indigenous Population Support Internet Site, BBC News Exiles lose appeal over benefits, CIA World Factbook: British Indian Ocean Territory, "Diego Garcia and the United States' Emerging Indian Ocean Strategy,". Other than rats ( Rattus Rattus ), with speeds of 10–15 knots dry at low tide this tactic in! ) by night tactics used was that of killing Chagossian pets. [ 16 ] high throughout the.! Of domesticated species the location of two coaling stations for steamships crossing the Indian Ocean, Africa, total! 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