Lighthouses of Indonesia: North Maluku (Northern 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.

Maluku (the Moluccas) includes 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.

North Maluku (Maluku Utara) includes the large island of Halmahera and nearby islands, notably Morotai to the north, Bacan and Obi to the south, and the Sula Islands to the southwest. On the west, the Maluku Sea separates Halmahera from Sulawesi (Celebes). To the northeast is the open Philippine Sea, and on the southeast the Halmahera Sea separates Halmahera from Papua (New Guinea). On the south, the narrow waters of the Seram Sea separate Halmahera from Seram (Ceram) and the other islands of Maluku Province. The population of the province is barely one million, a small population for Indonesia. The largest settlement, Ternate, is on a small island off the west coast of Halmahera. The provincial capital was moved in 2010 from Ternate to Sofifi on the west coast of Halmahera.

Photos of lighthouses in North 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 - Vol. F and Vol. K
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
 

Sanana Light, Sula Islands, October 2016
Google Plus photo by Giga Nusantara
Ternate City Lighthouses
Note: Ternate is an island off the west coast of Halmahera. The Sultans of Ternate ruled most of the spice islands in the centuries before Europeans arrived, and from the early 17th century Ternate was the principal Dutch base in the area. With a population of around 150,000, the city of Ternate is the largest city of North Maluku. It was the provincial capital until 2010, when the capital was moved to the mainland town of Sofifi.
Ternate Pier
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. A photo is at right, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located beside the main passenger terminal at Ternate. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2100; NGA 25208.
Tanjung Kahu Merah
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 27 m (89 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the south waterfront of Ternate. Site status unknown (the lighthouse is in a commercial port area). Admiralty F2105; NGA 25212.
Pulau Hiri
2003. Active; focal plane 115 m (377 ft); white flash every 4 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but a Google satellite view shows this station. Pulau Hiri is a small island off the northern tip of Pulau Ternate. Located on the west side of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2106; NGA 25217.

Pulau Mayu Lighthouses
Note: Pulau Mayu is a high island in the Maluku Sea about halfway between Halmahera and the northeastern tip of Sulawesi. The island is attached administratively to the city of Ternate.
Tanjung Mayu
2003. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and the lighthouse is not seen in Google's very dark satellite view. Located on the eastern tip of Pulau Mayu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2107.56; NGA 25222.8.

Ternate Pier Light (far right), Ternate, September 2014
Wordpress photo copyright yosgama; permission requested
Pulau Mayu (Tanjung Lelew, Pasirputih)
2006. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 3 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the western tip of Pulau Mayu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-221; Admiralty F2107.5; NGA 25222.7.

West Halmahera Regency Lighthouse
Tanjung Bobo
2003. Active; focal plane 210 m (689 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 40 m (131 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located on a promontory near the base of Halmahera's northern peninsula, about 25 km (15 mi) north of Ternate. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2107.8; NGA 25222.45.

North Halmahera Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Sidanga
2003. Active; focal plane 93 m (305 ft); white flash every 3 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on the west side of a small island off the northwestern coast of Halmahera, about 160 km (100 mi) north of Ternate. This island is known as a scuba diving site. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2110.3; NGA 25222.4.

Pulau Morotai Regency Lighthouse
Tanjung Sopi (Pulau Morotai)
2003. Active; focal plane 93 m (305 ft); white flash every 6 s. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. The top of the tower also carries a slatted daymark. Laszlo Wagner's photo is at right, a small photo is available (halfway down the page), and Google has a satellite view of the station. Pulau Morotai, the northernmost major island of Maluku, is best known as the base for the U.S. invasion of the Philippines in early 1945. Package tours of the island sometimes include a visit to the lighthouse. Located at the northern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, and nothing prevents visitors from climbing the tower. Admiralty F2111.3; NGA 25222.55.

East Halmahera Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Leleve
2006. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) white concrete tower. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located on a small island in Buli Bay, off the east coast of Halmahera about 20 km (13 mi) north of Bicoli. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2109.6.
Tanjung Sopi Light
Tanjung Sopi Light, Pulau Morotai
photo copyright Laszlo Wagner, East-Indonesia.info; used by permission

Central Halmahera Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Yiew (Jiuw)
2006. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) "white tower," probably skeletal. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the island. Located on a small island about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of the eastern tip of Halmahera's eastern peninsula, marking the northern entrance to the Halmahera Sea. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2109.8; NGA 25222.65.
Tanjung Sofa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 71 m (233 ft); white flash every 10 s. No description available, but one would expect a substantial tower at this location. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view. This lighthouse is less than 5 km (3 mi) north of the Equator. Located at the northwestern tip of Pulau Gebe, marking a narrow passage around the eastern tip of Halmahera. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2111.8; NGA 25222.6.
Teluk Weda
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 27 m (89 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower. Indra Satya Nagari has a 2017 photo, but the tower may be too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Weda is the capital of the Central Halmahera Regency. Located at the foot of the ferry pier in Weda. Site open, tower closed.

South Halmahera Regency: Bacan Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Bacan Islands lie off the west coast of Halmahera's southern peninsula. Pulau Bacan itself is the largest of the islands.
Tanjung Gegoru
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the western tip of Pulau Mandioli, markin the southwestern point of the Bacan Islands. Probably accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1585.5.
Pulau Sarangburung (Lata Lata)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 2 s. 10 m (33 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Located on a small island at the northwestern point of the Bacan Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1582; NGA 25771.
Pokal
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 110 m (361 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island in the center of the narrow strait separating southwestern Halmahera from the neighboring Pulau Bacan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1588; NGA 25770.
* Babang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower, flared at the top and buttressed at the base. Merky Bolung's distant view is at right, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Babang, a town on the east coast of Pulau Bacan, the largest of the Bacan Islands. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1587.5; NGA 25769.
Babang Light
Babang Light, Bacan Islands, September 2009
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by merky.bolung

South Halmahera Regency: Pulau Makian Lighthouse
Pulau Makian
2003. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) tapered square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Pulau Makian is a volcanic island off the west coast of Halmahera about 60 km (38 mi) south of Ternate. Located on the western tip of the island. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2107.3; NGA 25210.

South Halmahera Regency: Obi Islands Lighthouses
Note: The Obi Islands lie to the south of Halmahera and north of Seram. Obira (also called Obi) is by far the largest of the islands.
* Laiwui
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (60 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. Pardi Laapo has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the Laiwui ferry port on the north coast of Pulau Obira. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1590.
Tanjung Wok
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white light, 5 s on, 7 s off. 17 m (56 ft) "white beacon." No photo available. The Admiralty's position data for this light appears to be incorrect. Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. Located (apparently) at the tip of a promontory on the north coast of Pulau Obira. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1591; NGA 25766.
Pulau Lawin (Pulau Laiola)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available. Google has a satellite view that appears to show the light station. Located on Pulau Laiola, a small island off the southeast side of Pulau Lawin, in the Halmahera Sea about 55 km (35 mi) east of the island of Obira. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1603; NGA 25764.
Tanjung Akelamo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 10 s. 40 m (131 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with gallery. No photo available, but Bing has a good satellite view of the station. Located on the southwestern tip of Pulau Obira, marking the east side of the southern entrance to the Maluku Sea. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1590.5.

Sula Islands Regency Lighthouses
Note: The Sula Islands are to the west of the Obi islands. Of the three largest islands, Taliabu and Mangole are in a west-east line, while Sanana is at right angles south of Mangole. Taliabu became a separate regency in 2013.
* Falabisahaya
Active; focal plane about 23 m (75 ft); flashing white light. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Giga Nusantara has a November 2016 photo, but the tower is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located at the foot of the pier in Falabisahaya harbor on the central north coast of Pulau Mangole. Site open, tower closed.
Tanjung Dehekalano
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located at the eastern tip of Pulau Lifumatola, at the extreme eastern end of the Sula Islands, marking the west side of the southern entrance to the Maluku Sea. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1592; NGA 25742.
* Sanana (3?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Giga Nusantara's October 2016 photo is at the top of this page, but the tower is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. The previous light was on a 15 m (49 ft) round white barbell-shaped fiberglass tower, mounted on a square concrete platform supported by piles. A 2010 photo of that light is available. Located at the foot of the pier in Sanana harbor, near the northeastern corner of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1601; NGA 25756.
Tanjung Waka
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 45 m (148 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. Located on the southern tip of the narrow island of Sanana, marking the passage between that island and Buru. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1601.15; NGA 25754.5.
* Malbufa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 (52 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a shoal off Malbufa, a village on the northwest coast of Pulau Sanana. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1601.17.

Taliabu Regency Lighthouses
Pulau Sehu (Seku)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Tower described only as a white beacon. No photo available, but the light has not been found in Google's satellite view of the area. This light and the Pulau Buangbuang Light (see the Northern Sulawesi page) frame the entrance to the Maluku Sea from the Banda Sea. Located on a promontory on the west side of Pulau Sehu, an island off the southwestern tip of Pulau Taliabu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K1569.5; NGA 25384.
* Bobong (2?)
Active; focal plane about 23 m (75 ft); flashing white light. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Eriko Utama has a February 2016 beach view, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the town. Bobong, at the western end of Pulau Taliabu, is the capital of the Taliabu Regency. Located on the waterfront harbor of Taliabu. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K1570.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: West Papua | South: Central Maluku | Southwest: Southern Sulawesi | West: Northern Sulawesi

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Posted December 31, 2008. Checked and revised March 8, 2016. Lighthouses: 28. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.