Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean

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Scattered Islands in the Indian OceanÎles Éparses de l'océan Indien (French)
Flag of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Flag of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Coat of arms of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Coat of arms
Motto: "Liberté, égalité, fraternité"
Anthem: "La Marseillaise"
"The Marsellaise"
Maps of the Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean. Anti-clockwise from top right: Tromelin Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, Bassas da India, and Europa Island. Banc du Geyser is not shown.Maps of the Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean.
Anti-clockwise from top right: Tromelin Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, Bassas da India, and Europa Island. Banc du Geyser is not shown.
StatusDistrict of French Southern and Antarctic Lands

The Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean (French: Îles Éparses or Îles Éparses de l'océan Indien) consist of four small coral islands, an atoll, as well as a reef in the Indian Ocean; they have constituted the fifth district of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, though sovereignty over some or all of the islands is contested by the Comoros, Madagascar, and Mauritius. None of the islands have ever had a permanent population, though the French armed forces maintain small troop contingents on some of the islands.

Two of the islands—Europa Island and Juan de Nova Island—and the Bassas da India atoll lie in the Mozambique Channel west of Madagascar, while a third island, Tromelin Island, lies about 450 kilometres (280 mi) east of Madagascar and the Glorioso Islands lies about 200 kilometres (120 mi) northwest of Madagascar. Also in the Mozambique Channel is Banc du Geyser, a mostly submerged reef considered a part of the Glorioso Islands by France and the Comoros.

The islands have been classified as nature reserves. Except for Bassas da India, they all support meteorological stations: those on the Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova, and Europa Island are automated. The station on Tromelin Island, in particular, provides warning of cyclones threatening Madagascar, Mauritius, or Réunion. Each of the islands, except Banc du Geyser and Bassas da India, has an airstrip of more than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).

Overview

Island / Atoll Station
Staff
Area
(km2)
Lagoon
(km2)
EEZ
(km2)
Coordinates Location
 Glorioso Islands (including
Banc du Geyser)
11 5 29.6 48,350 11°33′S 47°20′E / 11.550°S 47.333°E / -11.550; 47.333 (Glorioso Islands) Northern Mozambique Channel
 Tromelin Island 19 0.8 280,000 15°53′S 54°31′E / 15.883°S 54.517°E / -15.883; 54.517 (Tromelin Island) Western Indian Ocean
 Juan de Nova Island 14 4.4 (1) 61,050 17°03′S 42°45′E / 17.050°S 42.750°E / -17.050; 42.750 (Juan de Nova) Central Mozambique Channel
 Bassas da India 0.2 79.8 123,700 21°27′S 39°45′E / 21.450°S 39.750°E / -21.450; 39.750 (Bassas da India) Southern Mozambique Channel
 Europa Island 12 28 9 127,300 22°20′S 40°22′E / 22.333°S 40.367°E / -22.333; 40.367 (Europa Island) Southern Mozambique Channel
Total 56 38.4 118.4 640,400  

Individual islands

Administration

Since January 3, 2005, the Scattered Islands have been administered on behalf of the French state by the senior administrator of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, based in Réunion. The Scattered Islands had previously been under the administration of the prefect of Réunion since the Independence of Madagascar in 1960. France maintains a military garrison of around 14 troops on each of the islands in the Mozambique Channel that are claimed by Madagascar. The troops are supported by French naval vessels based in Réunion conducting patrol missions and re-supply operations about four times per year. The Glorioso Islands are also claimed by the Comoros, while Mauritius claims Tromelin Island.

France has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles (370 km) around each of the small islands in the Scattered Islands, which together with the EEZ claims for the islands of Mayotte and Réunion totals more than one million square kilometres (400,000 sq mi) in the western Indian Ocean. There is considerable overlap of the EEZ with the neighbouring states.

Sovereignty dispute

Mauritius, Madagascar, and the Comoros dispute France's sovereignty over these islands. Mauritius claims Tromelin Island and states that the island, discovered by France in 1722, was not ceded by the Treaty of Paris in 1814. Madagascar claims sovereignty over the Glorioso Islands (including Banc du Geyser), though the island group was never a part of the Malagasy Protectorate, having been a part of the Colony of Mayotte and dependencies, then a part of the French Comoros that had become a separately administered colony from Madagascar in 1946. The Comoros also claims the Glorioso Islands (including Banc du Geyser), as a part of the disputed French region of Mayotte. Furthermore, Madagascar has also claimed Bassas da India, Europa Island, and Juan de Nova Island since 1972, and a 1979 United Nations resolution (without binding force) demanded the cession of these islands to Madagascar. Seychelles claimed a part of the Scattered Islands too before the signing of the France–Seychelles Maritime Boundary Agreement.

See also

References

  1. ^ "TAAF". Archived from the original on 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2010-02-20. French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) Official website
  2. ^ "Le Champlain : un soutien logistique pour les îles Éparses" (in French). Ministère des Armées. 23 August 2023. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  3. ^ "Le Champlain : un soutien logistique pour les îles Éparses" (in French). Ministère des Armées. 23 August 2023. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  4. ^ "Conflict about Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean". Sentinel Vision. 23 July 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). africa-union.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2009-08-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "United Nations Resolution 34/91" . United Nations. 12 December 1979. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  7. ^ "United Nations Resolution 35/123" . United Nations. 11 December 1980. Retrieved 13 June 2020.