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Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean

Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean

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The Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean ( or Îles éparses de l'océan indien) consist of four small coral islands, an atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

, and a reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, and have constituted the 5th district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) since February 2007. They have no permanent population. Three of the islands — the Glorioso Islands
Glorioso Islands
The Glorieuses or Glorioso Islands are a group of French islands and rocks totalling , at , in the northern Mozambique channel, about northwest of Madagascar. The Glorieuses have an Exclusive Economic Zone of...

, Juan de Nova and Europa
Europa Island
Europa Island is a 28 km² low-lying tropical island in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique, at . It has 22.2 kilometres of coastline, but no ports or harbours. Anchorage is possible offshore...

 — and the Bassas da India
Bassas da India
Bassas da India is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. It is an uninhabited, roughly circular atoll about in diameter, which corresponds to a total size of . It is located in the southern Mozambique Channel, about half-way between Madagascar and Mozambique, and northwest of...

 atoll lie in the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

 west of Madagascar, while the fourth island, Tromelin
Tromelin Island
Tromelin Island is a low, flat 0.8-square-kilometre island in the Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar . There are no harbours or anchorages and access by sea is difficult. The island has a 1,200-metre airstrip. It is a French territory...

, lies about 450 kilometres (279.6 mi) east of Madagascar. Also in the Mozambique Channel is the Banc du Geyser
Banc du Geyser
Banc du Geyser is a mostly submerged reef in the Mozambique Channel's northeastern part, 125 km northeast from Mayotte, 112 km southwest of the Îles Glorieuses, and 200 km off the northwestern coast of Madagascar, at .The Banc is a dangerous oval-shaped reef 8 km long and...

, a reef which was annexed by Madagascar in 1976. France continues to view the Banc du Geyser as part of the Îles Éparses.

The islands have been classified as nature reserve
Nature reserve
A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research...

s. Except for Bassas da India, they all support meteorological station
Weather station
A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for observing atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind...

s: those on the Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova and Europa Island are automated. The station on Tromelin Island, in particular, provides warning of cyclone
Cyclone
In meteorology, a cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth. This is usually characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate anticlockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. Most large-scale...

s threatening Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 or Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. Each of the islands, except Bassas da India and Banc du Geyser, has an airstrip of more than 1000 metres (3,280.8 ft). Mauritius, the Comoros
Comoros
The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

, Seychelles
Seychelles
Seychelles , officially the Republic of Seychelles , is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar....

, and Madagascar dispute France's sovereignty over the islands. Mauritius claims Tromelin; the Comoros and Seychelles claim the Glorioso Islands; the Comoros and Madagascar claim Banc du Geyser; and Madagascar claims the remaining islands.

Overview

Atoll/Island Station
Staff
Area
km²
Lagoon
Lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...


km²
EEZ
km²
Coordinates Location
Banc du Geyser
Banc du Geyser
Banc du Geyser is a mostly submerged reef in the Mozambique Channel's northeastern part, 125 km northeast from Mayotte, 112 km southwest of the Îles Glorieuses, and 200 km off the northwestern coast of Madagascar, at .The Banc is a dangerous oval-shaped reef 8 km long and...

- N/A N/A N/A 12°21′S 46°26′E North Mozambique Channel
Glorioso Islands
Glorioso Islands
The Glorieuses or Glorioso Islands are a group of French islands and rocks totalling , at , in the northern Mozambique channel, about northwest of Madagascar. The Glorieuses have an Exclusive Economic Zone of...

11 5 29.6 48350 11°33′S 47°20′E North Mozambique Channel
Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island
Juan de Nova Island is a low, flat, tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique at...

14 4.4 (1) 61050 17°03′S 42°45′E Central Mozambique Channel
Bassas da India
Bassas da India
Bassas da India is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. It is an uninhabited, roughly circular atoll about in diameter, which corresponds to a total size of . It is located in the southern Mozambique Channel, about half-way between Madagascar and Mozambique, and northwest of...

- 0.2 79.8 123700 21°27′S 39°45′E South Mozambique Channel
Europa Island
Europa Island
Europa Island is a 28 km² low-lying tropical island in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique, at . It has 22.2 kilometres of coastline, but no ports or harbours. Anchorage is possible offshore...

12 28 9 127300 22°20′S 40°22′E South Mozambique Channel
Tromelin Island
Tromelin Island
Tromelin Island is a low, flat 0.8-square-kilometre island in the Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar . There are no harbours or anchorages and access by sea is difficult. The island has a 1,200-metre airstrip. It is a French territory...

19 0.8 - 280000 15°53′S 54°31′E Western Indian Ocean
Total 56 38.6 118.4 640400  

Individual islands

  • Banc du Geyser
    Banc du Geyser
    Banc du Geyser is a mostly submerged reef in the Mozambique Channel's northeastern part, 125 km northeast from Mayotte, 112 km southwest of the Îles Glorieuses, and 200 km off the northwestern coast of Madagascar, at .The Banc is a dangerous oval-shaped reef 8 km long and...

  • Bassas da India
    Bassas da India
    Bassas da India is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. It is an uninhabited, roughly circular atoll about in diameter, which corresponds to a total size of . It is located in the southern Mozambique Channel, about half-way between Madagascar and Mozambique, and northwest of...

    • Ten unnamed rock islets
  • Europa Island
    Europa Island
    Europa Island is a 28 km² low-lying tropical island in the Mozambique Channel, about a third of the way from southern Madagascar to southern Mozambique, at . It has 22.2 kilometres of coastline, but no ports or harbours. Anchorage is possible offshore...

    • Île Europa
    • Eight unnamed rock islets
  • Glorioso Islands
    Glorioso Islands
    The Glorieuses or Glorioso Islands are a group of French islands and rocks totalling , at , in the northern Mozambique channel, about northwest of Madagascar. The Glorieuses have an Exclusive Economic Zone of...

    • Grande Glorieuse
    • Île du Lys
    • Wreck Rock
    • South Rock
    • Verte Rocks (three islets)
    • Three unnamed islets
  • Juan de Nova Island
    Juan de Nova Island
    Juan de Nova Island is a low, flat, tropical island in the narrowest part of the Mozambique Channel, about one-third of the way between Madagascar and Mozambique at...

  • Tromelin Island
    Tromelin Island
    Tromelin Island is a low, flat 0.8-square-kilometre island in the Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar . There are no harbours or anchorages and access by sea is difficult. The island has a 1,200-metre airstrip. It is a French territory...


Administration


Since January 3, 2005, the Îles Éparses have been administered on behalf of the French state by the senior administrator of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAFles Terres Australes et Antartiques Françaises), based in Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

. The Îles Éparses had previously been under the administration of the prefect of Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 since the independence of Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 in 1960. France maintains a military garrison of around 14 troops on each of the islands in the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

 that are claimed by Madagascar. The Glorioso Islands are also claimed by the Comoros, while Mauritius claims Tromelin Island.

France claims an Exclusive Economic Zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

 (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles around each of the small islands in the Îles Éparses, which together with the EEZ claims for the islands of Réunion
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

 and Mayotte
Mayotte
Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France consisting of a main island, Grande-Terre , a smaller island, Petite-Terre , and several islets around these two. The archipelago is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean, namely between northwestern Madagascar and...

 totals more than one million square kilometres in the western Indian Ocean. There is considerable overlap of the EEZ with the neighbouring states.

See also

  • French overseas departments and territories
  • Administrative divisions of France
    Administrative divisions of France
    The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. There are many administrative divisions, which may have political , electoral , or administrative objectives.- Metropolitan France :As of January 1, 2008, metropolitan...

  • French Southern and Antarctic Lands

External links