Lighthouses of Indonesia: Central Maluku (Moluccas)

Indonesia has been independent since 1945, after having been the Dutch East Indies for more than 350 years. It is a huge country, stretching along both sides of the Equator for more than 46 degrees of longitude (roughly 5100 km or 3200 miles). Comprised of some 17,000 islands (more than 6000 inhabited islands), it has hundreds of major aids to navigation.

This page includes the lighthouses of the central region of Maluku (the Moluccas), the islands traditionally known in the West as the "Spice Islands." This region is the northern part of Maluku Province, which also includes the islands covered on the Southern Maluku page. Maluku lies east of Sulawesi (Celebes), south of the Philippines, and west of New Guinea. The Portuguese established a settlement in the islands at Ambon in 1526. They were replaced in 1609 by the Dutch, who established a second colonial settlement at Ternate. Today Ambon is the capital of Maluku province, and Ternate was until recently the capital of North Maluku province.

Photos of lighthouses in Maluku are extremely rare on the Internet. Please let me know if you have or can locate additional photos. Special thanks to Michel Forand for his research in support of this page.

The Indonesian word for a lighthouse is mercusuar. The phrase menara suar, which includes the Arabic word menara, is sometimes used instead. Aids to navigation in Indonesia are operated and maintained by the Directorate General of Sea Navigation.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes F and K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Indonesia
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
 
Amahai Light
Amahai Light, Amahai, Central Maluku, February 2013
Panoramio photo copyright Richard Monny; used by permission
Southeast Maluku Regency (Kei Islands) Lighthouses
Note: The Kei Islands (formerly called the Kai Islands and known to the inhabitants as the Evav Islands) are a group of relatively small islands lying northeast of the Tanimbar group, west of the Aru group, and southeast of the large island of Seram. Tual, the chief town of the archipelago, suffered a severe earthquake in September 2010.
Tanjung Patingru
2015 (?). Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); white light occulting once every 11 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, and the lighthouse is apparently too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located on the northwestern tip of Pulau Kei Besar, the easternmost island of the Kei group. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1631.5.
Elat (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) round barbell-shaped metal tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Kepala Wulurat has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the base of a pier in Elat, the principal port of Pulau Kei Besar, on the southwest coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1631; NGA 25848.
Tanimbar Kei (Keitanimbar, Kaitanimbar, Atnebar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. White square skeletal tower, height unknown. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located near the only settlement on the island of Atnebar or Tanimbar Kei, at the southern end of the Kei group. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1628.8; NGA 25830.
Uf Danar (Uf Mar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Yus Hattu has a closeup photo and a distant view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the base of a pier at Uf Danar, a small port on the south coast of Pulau Kei Kecil Timur. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1628.93.
Tual (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Richard Monny's photo is at right, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. NGA lists a smaller tower. Located on the main quay at Tual, the capital of the regency, on Pulau Dullah. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1630; NGA 25840.
Tual Approach
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 3 s. 18 m (59 ft) red beacon, presumably mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located in a narrow channel between the islands of Duroa and Kei Kecil, marking the beginning of the approach to Tual. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1629; NGA 25832.

Tual Light, Kei Islands, June 2012
Panoramio photo copyright Richard Monny; used by permission
Pulau Kur (Koer)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 120 m (394 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a good satellite view of the station. Pulau Kur is about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Pulau Kei Kecil, the northernmost major island of the Kei group. Located at the northeastern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1628.5; NGA 25828.
Pulau Bui
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at the northwestern tip of the island of Bui, about 30 km (19 mi) north of the Pulau Kur light and about 175 km (110 mi) southeast of Ceram. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-117; Admiralty K1628; NGA 25824.

Central Maluku Regency: Banda Sea Lighthouses
Note: The Banda Islands are a small group in the Banda Sea about 200 km (125 mi) southeast of Ambon. Until the mid 19th century the islands were world's only source of the spices nutmeg and mace. The islands are administered as part of the Central Maluku Regency.
* Banda Naira (Bandanaira, Pulau Naira)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower with a flared top, centered on a square concrete equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, another 2015 photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the quay at Banda Naira, the principal town of the islands. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1626; NGA 25812.
Pulau Suanggi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 122 m (400 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. A distant view is available, but the island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Note that there is another Pulau Suanggi light near Ambon (see below). Located atop a small island at the northwestern end of the Banda group. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1625; NGA 25808.
Pulau Bingkudu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) white concrete tower. No photo available, and Bing has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island (the island is not seen at all in Google's satellite view). Located on a tiny island, the northernmost of the Penyu (Turtle) group, in the Banda Sea about 350 km (220 mi) south of Ambon. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1598; NGA 25810.

Banda Naira Light, Banda Islands, November 2015
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by rdd
Pulau Mai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Skeletal tower, height unknown, painted white. No photo available, and Bing has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island (the island is not seen at all in Google's satellite view). Located on a small island, the southernmost of the Penyu (Turtle) group, in the Banda Sea about 350 km (220 mi) south of Ambon. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1597.5.
Pulau Manuk
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower. Chandra Morsono's photo is below right. Pulau Manuk is isolated, uninhabited island in the middle of the Banda Sea about 115 km (72 mi) south southeast of Banda Naira; Bing has only a distant satellite view. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.

Central Maluku Regency: Seram North Coast Lighthouses
Teluk Hatiling Entrance
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 10 s. 15 m skeletal (?) tower, painted red and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the edge of the reef on the west side of the entrance to Hatiling, a harbor on the central north coast of Seram. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1605.1.
Teluk Hatiling
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the harbor. Located in Hatiling. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1605.6.

East Seram Regency Lighthouses
Note: Seram (formerly spelled Ceram) is the largest island of Maluku Province, about 360 km (225 mi) long and 50 km (30 mi) wide. Lying east to west, it separates the narrow Seram Sea to the north from the broad Banda Sea to the south.
Sesar Bula
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Agunawan Opa has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Bula, on the northeast coast of Seram, is the capital of East Seram Regency. Located on the quay of a new port northwest of Bula. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1605.9.
Teluk Geser (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. NGA lists a 6 m (20 ft) tower at this location. Located on the quay of Pulau Geser, a small island off the southeastern tip of Seram. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1608; NGA 25800.
Pulau Manuk Light
Pulau Manuk Light, Banda Sea, April 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Chandra Marsono

Central Maluku Regency: Seram South Coast Lighthouses
Tanjung Kuako
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Richard Monny has a 2013 photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of narrow peninsula sheltering the harbor of Amahai on the south coast of Seram. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1611.8; NGA 25803.
* Teluk Amahai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Richard Monny's photo is at the top of this page, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the quay at Amahai. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1612; NGA 25803.5.
* Masohi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Ade Fadii has a very distant street view, nad Google has a satellite view. Located on the new quay at Masohi, about 7 km (4 mi) northeast of Amahai. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1612.3.
* Teluk Haria (Pulau Saparua)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Zeth Hattu has a photo, and Heski Laurens Manus has a closeup photo, but the tower is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view. Located on the new quay at Haria harbor on the south side of Pulau Saparua, an island off the southwest coast of Seram. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1616; NGA 25804.

Ambon Lighthouses
Note: Ambon Island lies a short distance southwest of Seram. The provincial capital, Ambon City, is on a southwestern peninsula of Ambon Island, facing the deep sound of Ambon Bay. With a population of about 275,000, it is the largest city of eastern Indonesia.
Tanjung Nusanive (Nusaniwe, Noesanive)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 138 m (453 ft); white flash every 5 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. This may be the original lighthouse, a 21 m (69 ft) hexagonal skeletal tower with gallery seen in a 1919 photo posted by the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum. Located at the southern tip of Ambon island, about 13 km (8 mi) southwest of Ambon city. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-317; Admiralty K1620; NGA 25772.
* Ambon
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) tapered square skeletal tower, painted white. The tower is to the left of the terminal building in Nawafcell Indramayu's photo at right, but the tower is hard to distinguish in Google's satellite view. Located on the ferry quay in downtown Ambon. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1622; NGA 25782.
Wayame
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower. The tower is at the right in a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located at a Pertamina oil terminal across the bay from Ambon city. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1621.01.
Tanjung Sikula
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. The tower is seen at the left in a photo by Richard Monny, and Google has a good satellite view. Located on a point of land on the north side of the bay of Ambon, about 8 km (5 mi) west of the city. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1621; NGA 25776.
Ambon Light
Ambon Light (left) and Ferry Terminal, Ambon, September 2012
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Nawafcell Indramayu
Pulau Nusatelu (Pulau Ela)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) white concrete post with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. This light marks the entrance to the protected Piru Bay separating Ambon and Seram. Located on an island off the northwestern coast of Ambon island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1619; NGA 25773.

West Seram Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Suanggi (Sunggi)
Date unknown (station established 1904). Active; focal plane 94 m (308 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 21 m (69 ft) iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This light guides vessels through a narrow strait between the islands of Buru and Seram (Ceram). Note that there is another Pulau Suanggi Light in the Banda Sea Islands (see above). Located on Pulau Suanggi, a small island off the western tip of Pulau Manipa, about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-249; Admiralty K1600; NGA 25752.
Pulau Niene
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Presumably a tall skeletal tower, but the light is poorly seen in Google's satellite view of the island. Located on a small island on the north side of Pulau Boano, off the northwestern tip of Seram (Ceram). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1600.5; NGA 25754.

Buru Regency Lighthouses

Note: Buru is a large, roughly elliptical island to the west of Seram, from which it is separated by the Manipa Strait. The mountainous island is about 130 km (80 mi) long and 90 km (55 mi) wide.
Tanjung Kerbau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) white tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory about 3 km (2 mi) east of Namlea, a port at the northeastern corner of Buru and capital of Buru Regency. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1599; NGA 25750.
Namlea (2)
2007 (?). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Retna Rumayanti's photo is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. NGA formerly listed a small post light at Namlea. Located on the waterfront at Namlea, a port at the northeastern corner of Buru. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1594; NGA 25748.

Southern Buru Regency Lighthouses
* Ulima
2015(?). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Johannes Hukygah has a 2016 photo, but Google hasonly a distant satellite view of the port. Located on the quay at Ulima, a small port on the north coast of Pulau Ambelau, an island off the southeastern coast of Buru. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1599.3.
Tanjung Bartutui
2003. Active; focal plane 116 m (381 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted atop a 1-story building. Lighthouse painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This light marks the southern entrance to the Manipa Strait, the passage between Buru and Seram. Located on the southern tip of Pulau Ambelau. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1599.5; NGA 25751.
Namlea Light
Namlea Light, Namlea, Buru, May 2013
photo copyright Retna Rumayanti; permission requested
* Namrole
2015(?). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Ongki Makatita has a 2017 aerial photo, but the tower may be too new to appear in Bing's satellite view of the port. Located on the quay at Namrole, a small port on the central south coast of Buru. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1595.
* Leksula (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round barbell-shaped white tower. The tower is seen in the background of a 2017 photo and is centered in a Bing satellite view of the port. It is possible that this tower will be removed. Located next to the passenger terminal at Leksula, a small port on the southwest coast of Buru. Site open, tower closed.
* Leksula (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 3 s (?). Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. A 2017 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the quay at Leksula. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1596; NGA 25744.
Pulau Fogi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 153 m (502 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. Located on a small island just off the western tip of Buru. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1597; NGA 25746.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: North Maluku | East: West Papua | South: Southern Maluku | Northwest: Southern Sulawesi

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Posted December 31, 2008. Checked and revised March 17, 2017. Lighthouses: 34. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.