Grouped together with Pitcairn under the same administration are the uninhabited islands of Oeno, Henderson, and Ducie, annexed by Britain in 1902. The four islands together total 47.4 square km.
Unlike Pitcairn and Henderson, both Ducie and Oeno have central lagoons inaccessible to shipping. Passing Japanese freighters often dump garbage in these waters and tankers illegally flush their holds, as the trash and tar littering the beaches of these remote atolls clearly proves.
Oeno, a tiny 5.1-square-km atoll 128 km northwest of Pitcairn, is visited by the Pitcairners from time to time to collect shells, coral, and pandanus leaves to use in their handicrafts. Small boats can enter the shallow lagoon through a passage on the north side.
In 1969-70 Oeno was used by the U.S. Air Force as a satellite observation post. In 2001 a New Zealand company submitted a proposal to build a 1,200-meter runway and deluxe tourist lodge on Oeno, but nothing has yet been done.
Ducie atoll (6.4 square km) is 472 km east of Pitcairn. The poor soil and lack of fresh water account for the sparse vegetation, mostly a five-meter-tall shrub. Large whirlpools in the Ducie lagoon are caused by tunnels that drain the lagoon to the sea.
Due to its inaccessibility, Ducie is rarely approached, and tens of thousands of petrels and other seabirds nest there.