Bajo Nuevo Bank

Bajo Nuevo Bank

The Bajo Nuevo Bank (also called the Petrel Islands) is a small, uninhabited reef with some small islets, covered with grass, located in the western Caribbean Sea at coord|15|53|N|78|38|W|type:isle|display=inline,title, with a lighthouse on Low Cay at coord|15|51|N|78|38|W|.

The reef was first shown on Dutch maps dating to 1634 but was given its present name in 1654. Bajo Nuevo was rediscovered by the English pirate John Glover in 1660. Today the cays are frequently visited by lobster fishers.

Bajo Nuevo Bank is about 26 km long and 9 km wide. The satellite image clearly shows two distinct atoll-like structures separated by a deep channel 1.4 km wide at its narrowest point. The larger southwestern reef complex measures 15.4 km northeast-southwest, and is up to 9.4 km wide, covering an area of about 100 km². The reef partially dries on the southern and eastern sides. The smaller northeastern reef complex measures 10.5 km east-west and is up to 5.5 km wide, covering an area of 45 km². The land area is minuscule by comparison.

The most prominent cay is Low Cay, in the southwestern atoll. It is 300 m long and 40 m wide (about 0.01 km²), no more than 2 m high, and barren. It is composed of broken coral, driftwood, and sand. The lighthouse on Low Cay is a 21 m (69 feet) metal tower, painted white with a red top, built in 1980. It emits a focal plane beam of light as two white flashes of light every 15 seconds. It is unclear whether the lighthouse is currently operable or who, if anybody, operates the lighthouse.

Bajo Nuevo is the subject of conflicting claims on the part of the United States, Jamaica, Colombia, Nicaragua and possibly even Honduras. Colombia considers Bajo Nuevo Bank as being part of San Andrés y Providencia Department. The U. S. claim was made in the 19th century under the Guano Islands Act. Most of the "guano islands" claimed by the U.S. in the area of San Andrés and Providencia were ceded to Colombia in 1981. But it is unclear whether Bajo Nuevo Bank was also ceded to Colombia.

The US considers the reef to be an unorganized, unincorporated United States territory. In the case of Bajo Nuevo Bank, the situation is complicated by the relative nearness of Jamaica.

See also

* Serranilla Bank
* Alice Shoal
* Rosalind Bank
* Political divisions of the United States
* San Andrés and Providencia

ources & External links

* where Bajo Nuevo Bank and its status is described from the U.S. point of view
* [ Website in English language with a map of San Andrés and Providencia, Serranilla Bank, Bajo Nuevo Bank and Rosalind Bank with the option of enlarging the map by clicking]
* [ Aerial picture of Bajo Nuevo Bank. The website is related to San Andrés and Providencia]
* [ Information about the Acquisition Process of its Insular Areas, provided by the US Department of the Interior, US Government: Serranilla and Bajo Nuevo Bank were both taken by occupation beginning between 1869 and 1880]
* [ US Government, Department of the Interior — neither Serranilla Bank nor Bajo Nuevo Bank are mentioned]
* [ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — The Serranilla Bank (with picture) and Bajo Nuevo are still claimed by the U.S.]
* [ WorldStatesmen- under USA]

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