Lighthouses of Indonesia: 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 Maluku Province, which includes the southern islands of Maluku (the Moluccas), the islands traditionally known in the West as the "Spice Islands." 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 Indonesian Directorate of Marine Navigation (Indomarinav).

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.
 
Amahai Light
Amahai Light, Amahai, Central Maluku, February 2013
Panoramio photo copyright Richard Monny; used by permission
Southwest Maluku Regency (Far Eastern Sunda Islands) Lighthouses
Note: These islands lie north and east of Timor at the extreme eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, but they are included in Maluku Province as the Southwest Maluku Regency.
Pulau Liran (Wetar Strait) (2)
2010 (?) (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); four white flashes every 40 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The lighthouse is near the left edge of Bjørn Grøtting's aerial photo, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. The original lighthouse was a hexagonal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery; the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum has a 1939 photo. This lighthouse is important in guiding ships toward the island of Timor. Located at the southern tip of Liran, a small island off the southwestern tip of the much larger island of Wetar, about 75 km (45 mi) north northeast of Dili, Timor Leste. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-357; Admiralty K1372; NGA 25716.
Tanjung Tutuneden
2007. Acrive; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, probably with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located on a prominent cape on the south coast of Pulau Wetar. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1372.3.
Tanjung Tutunhatoloi
2004. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); white flash every 7 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the northeastern corner of Wetar. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1372.5; NGA 25716.6.
Tanjung Tutunmahin (Pulau Kisar)
2004. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); white flash every 4.5 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at the southeastern tip of Pulau Kisar, an island about 30 km (19 mi) north of the eastern tip of Timor. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1373.2.
Pulau Nyata
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on Pulau Nyata, off the west side of the larger Pulau Romang, about 50 km (30 mi) east northeast of Pulau Wetar. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1373.5; NGA 25718.5.
Tanjung Tutpateh (Pulau Leti)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. "White metal framework structure," according to NGA; this is probably a square skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. This light and the former Pulau Yako Light in Timor Leste framed a narrow passage around the eastern end of Timor, joining the Banda Sea to the Timor Sea. Located at the eastern tip of Pulau Leti, 35 km (22 mi) east northeast of Pulau Yako. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-335; Admiralty K1374; NGA 25719.
Pulau Lakor
2007. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white, mounted on a square 1-story equipment building. A photo is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Pulau Lakor is the easternmost of the three major islands of the Leti group. Located at Keti, a village on the south side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1375.
Meatiy Miarang (Meaty Miarang, Meatimiarang, Brisbane Island)
1903. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); three white flashes every 29 s. 23 m (75 ft) hexagonal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No current photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. The historic lighthouse apparently survives here. The lighthouse marks an extensive and dangerous reef system midway between Pulau Lakor, in the Leti group, and Pulau Sermata, the largest island of the Sermata group. Located on a small island at the south end of the reef. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-166; Admiralty K1376; NGA 25720.
Pulau Masela
2007. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, mounted atop a large building. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. Pulau Masela is a small island on the south side of the Babar group, halfway between the Leti and Tanimbar islands. Located at the southern end of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1376.3.
Pulau Lakor Light
Pulau Lakor Light, Leti Islands, November 2012
Panoramio photo copyright mas radiena; permission requested

Western Southeast Maluku Regency (Tanimbar Islands) Lighthouses

Note: The Tanimbar Islands are roughly halfway between Timor and Papua (New Guinea), with the Banda Sea to the northwest and the Arafura Sea to the southeast.
Tanjung Arousu (Orousu)
2006. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. No photo available, but Bing has a shadowed satellite view. Pulau Selaru is the southernmost island of the Tanimbar group. Located at the southern tip of the island, facing the Arafura Sea. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1376.5; NGA 25721.
Pulau Selaru East
2007. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, mounted atop a large building. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. This station is very similar to the Pulau Masela station. Located near the northeastern end of Pulau Selaru. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1378.5.
Pulau Asutubun (Asoeboetoen)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a small island off the southern tip of the much larger Pulau Yamdena. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1379; NGA 25724.
* Saumlaki (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 27 m (89 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Achmad Yurianto's distant view is at right, and Ernst Pantouw has a closer photo, but the tower is not conspicuous in Google's satellite view. NGA lists a much shorter tower for this station. Located on the waterfront of Saumlaki, the regency capital and principal town of Tanimbar, near the southeastern corner of Pulau Yamdena. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1380; NGA 25732.
Meyundas (Pulau Yamdena)
2007. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) "white tower." No photo available, and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the area. Located in Meyundas, a town on the east coast of Pulau Yamdena. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1379.5.
Pulau Larat
2007. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) "white tower." No photo available, and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the area. Located on the southeastern tip of Pulau Larat, an island at the north end of the Tanimbar group. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1383.5.
Saumlaki Light
Saumlaki Light, Pulau Yamdena, November 2010
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Achmad Yurianto
Tanjung Warlangir
2003. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); white flash every 6 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view showing the station. Located at the extreme northeastern end of the Tanimbar group. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1384; NGA 25741.
Pulau Kalbur
2003. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white flash every 4 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo availabl, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located at the extreme northern end of the Tanimbar group. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1384.5; NGA 25741.2.

Aru Islands Regency Lighthouses

Note: The Aru Islands are the easternmost island group of Maluku, located about 150 km (90 mi) southwest of the Papua (New Guinea) coast. The largest island by far is Tanahbesar (also called Wokam); Dobo, the capital of the regency and chief port of the islands, is on Wamar, just off the west coast of Tanahbesar.
Pulau Kultubai
2007 (?). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 30 m (98 ft) "white beacon." No photo available, and the tower is too new to appear in Bing's satellite view of the islet. Located on a tiny island on a dangerous reef at the southeastern corner of the Aru group. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1632.7; NGA 25886.3.
Pulau Enu
2006. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Pulau Enu is a small island in the Arafura Sea at the southeastern corner of the Aru group. Located on the south side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1632.8; NGA 25886.5.
Tanjung Ular
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white light, 3 s on, 2 s off. 13 m (43 ft) iron skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. Located in the Aru group of islands, at the northwestern tip of Pulau Wamar, marking the approach to the port of Dobo. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1632; NGA 25872.
* Dobo (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower. Martin Manurung's photo is at right, but clouds obscure Google's distant satellite view. NGA lists a previous tower having a focal plane of only 8 m (26 ft). The lighthouse is similar to the Saumlaki lighthouse (see above). Located on the waterfront at Dobo, on Pulau Wamar. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1632.4; NGA 25884.
Pulau Warilau (Tanjung Watuleijurung)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 4 s. 28 m (92 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a very fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located on Pulau Warilau, at the northern end of the Aru Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1633; NGA 25876.

Dobo Light, Dobo, June 2008
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Martin Manurung;
no longer on Panoramio but now posted on the province's infoMaluku blog

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.
Tanimbar Kei (Keitanimbar, Kaitanimbar, Atnebar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. White concrete tower, height unknown. No photo available, but Bing 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.
Tual
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 Bing'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.
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 (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. Phillips Dewantoro's photo is at right, 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, but the tower is barely discernible in a distant Google 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 Naira Light, Banda Islands, May 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Phillips Dewantoro; used by permission
Pulau Manuk
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower. Chandra Morsono's photo is at right, but Bing has only a distant satellite view of the island. Pulau Manuk is isolated island in the middle of the Banda Sea about 115 km (72 mi) south southeast of Banda Naira. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.

Central Maluku Regency: Seram Lighthouses

Note: Seram 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.
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 Google has only a very distant satellite view of the harbor. Located in Hatiling, a harbor on the central north coast of Seram. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1605.6.
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, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Located at the end of narrow peninsula sheltering the harbor of Amahai on the south coast of Seram. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1612; NGA 25803.5.
* 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 has a 2013 photo, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Located on the quay at Amahai. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1612; NGA 25803.5.
* Teluk Haria (Pulau Saparua)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) hourglass-shaped white concrete post light. Heski Laurens Manus has a 2013 photo, and another photo is available, but clouds obscure Google's distant satellite view of the area. Located on the quay at Haria harbor on the south side of Pulau Saparua, about 40 km (25 mi) east of Ambon. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1616; NGA 25804.
Pulau Manuk Light
Pulau Manuk Light, Banda Sea, April 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Chandra Marsono

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 Bing 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, 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.
Tanjung Sikula
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing 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.
Pulau Nusatelu (Pulau Ela)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white flash every 4 s. "White beacon," according to NGA. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view. A tall tower is to be expected at this site, marking 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.
Ambon Light
Ambon Light (left) and Ferry Terminal, Ambon, September 2012
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Nawafcell Indramayu

Western 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. No description or photo available, but a Google satellite view shows the faint shadow of a tall square skeletal tower. 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 31 m (102 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Retna Rumayanti's photo is at right, but the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. NGA lists a small post light at Namlea. The Admiralty announced this new light as "Pulau Maluku," which is probably an error. 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
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, an island off the southeastern coast of Buru. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1599.5; NGA 25751.
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.
Namlea Light
Namlea Light, Namlea, Buru, May 2013
photo copyright Retna Rumayanti; permission requested

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: North Maluku | East: West Papua | Southwest: Eastern Sundas | Northwest: Southern Sulawesi

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Posted December 31, 2008. Checked and revised February 16, 2014. Lighthouses: 44. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.