Bassas da India
|Bassas da India|
|Waters||Strait of Mozambique|
|Number of islands||10|
|Land area||20 ha|
|total area||86.5 km²|
Bassas da India is an uninhabited atoll in the Indian Ocean , west of Madagascar in the southern Strait of Mozambique . Politically it belongs to the Îles Éparses , a district of the French overseas territory Terres australes et antarctiques françaises .
Bassas da India is located in the southwestern Indian Ocean, about 430 km east of the Mozambique island of Bazaruto , 380 km west of the Malagasy coastal town of Morombe and 110 km northwest of the island of Europe, which also belongs to the Îles Éparses . The atoll, located above an extinct submarine volcano with a diameter of 10.5 km, consists of a reef formed from hard corals that surrounds a shallow lagoon up to a maximum of 14 m deep . The entire atoll occupies an area of 86.5 km²; The land area of the more than ten tiny islets is only about 0.2 km² in total.
The atoll rises only about 1.20 m above the sea surface at low tide and is almost completely flooded with high tide except for a few coral rocks in the north. It is therefore not a habitat for land plants or land animals. For the same reason there is no man-made infrastructure. The rich underwater fauna is still little explored; So far, 301 types of bony fish and 10 types of shark have been recorded, including the endangered whitetip deep sea shark and the also threatened bow-forehead hammerhead . The surrounding waters reach a depth of about 3000 m.
Bassas da India was discovered at the beginning of the 16th century by the Portuguese navigator Gaspero Gonsuales and named by him Baixo da India .
In 1585 the carrack Santiago with 400,000 silver thalers sank near Bassas da India. After a first search expedition failed in 1987, a research team with the largest French marine research ship Marion Dufresne set out again in 2011 to examine the wreck, but found that it had been almost completely looted.
Politics and administration
On October 31, 1897, the seizure was officially announced by France “in execution of the law of August 6, 1896”. Like the rest of the Îles Éparses, the atoll has been administered by the prefect and chief administrator of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since 2005 . With the law of February 21, 2007, Bassas da India was incorporated into the French Southern and Antarctic Territories together with the other Îles Éparses as the fifth district. Before that, it had been administered by the prefect of the overseas department of Réunion since 1960 without belonging to Réunion itself.
The exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which is directly adjacent to that of the island of Europe, extends over an area of 123,700 km².
Since its independence in 1960, Madagascar has laid claim to the atoll.
- Administration des Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (ed.): Livret de découverte des îles Eparses: Tromelin, Glorieuses, Juan de Nova, Europa et Bassas da India . Saint-Pierre (Réunion) 2016, Bassas da India, p. 38 (French, online [PDF; 5.6 MB ; accessed on June 12, 2017]).
- Sarah Caceres: Etude préalable pour le classement de Réserve Naturelle des Iles Eparses. Mémoire de DESS Sciences et Gestion de l'Environnement Tropical de l'Université de la Réunion . Université de La Réunion , Saint-Denis 2002, p. 37 (French, available online through Joseph Poupin, École navale [PDF; 7.2 MB ; accessed on June 12, 2017]).
- Bassas da India. Stories of an Atoll (OT: Le secret du trésor de Bassas da India ). Documentary, France, 2012, 71 Min, written and directed. Karel Prokop, production: Arte France, Constance film, AMIP, TV: June 1, 2013 in arte, Summary of ARD .
- Note from the Ministère des Colonies. In: Journal officiel de la République française . Official Journal of the Republic of France. Volume 29, No. 296. Paris October 31, 1897, p. 6390, column 3 (French, accessed June 12, 2017).