Lighthouses of Oman

Oman is an Arab sultanate located at the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The sultanate has been independent since the mid 18th century, but for most of the 20th century it was under a British military protectorate. For many years the sultan barred most westerners and avoided modern developments, including lighthouses and port improvements. In 1970 the sultan was overthrown by one of his sons, and since then the country has rapidly caught up with the rest of the Arab world. Tourism is encouraged, and the country now attracts many visitors from the West and from Asia.

In addition to its lengthy coastline facing the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, the sultanate includes the Musandam peninsula, which is strategically located on the south side of the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Musandam is separated from the rest of Oman by the emirate of Fujairah, one of the seven member states of the United Arab Emirates.

The Arabic word for a lighthouse is mnarh or manara (منارة). Ra's is the word for a cape or headland, and jazirat is an island.

Aids to navigation in Oman are maintained by the Arabian Maritime and Navigational Aids Service (AMNAS), a private company based in Muscat (Masqat), under a contract from the Omani government. In recent years AMNAS has been carrying out a major program of refurbishing existing lighthouses and building new ones. In April 2011, AMNAS announced that it will build three new lighthouses by the end of 2012: "one on the southern tip of Masirah, one in Ras Madrakah, which is further south of Duqm, and the third at the eastern end of Qibliyah, also known as the Halaniyat Islands, off the Dhofar coast."

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume D of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
AMNAS charts maritime safety in Omani waters
This article in the Oman Observer reviewed the history of Omani lighthouses. Unfortunately, it is no longer available online.
AMNAS - Keeping Mariners Safe
Photos and brief notes for six lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - Oman
Photos by Thomas Philipp and Douglas Cameron posted by Alex Trabas.
Didamar Island Lighthouse
Didamar Island Light, January 2007
AMNAS photo
Musandam (Strait of Hormuz) Lighthouses
Ra's Shiekh (Shaykh) Mas'ud
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 5 s. No description and no photo available, but Bing's satellite view shows the station. Located on a promontory on the northwestern shoulder of the Musandam Peninsula. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7336; NGA 112-30160.
Didamar (Jazirat Quwayn as Saghir, Quoin Island)
1914. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 24 m (79 ft) hexagonal pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and enclosed watch room. Entire lighthouse painted white. There are several keeper's houses, probably staffed by Omani forces keeping watch over this very strategic location (25% of the world's oil passes within sight of the lighthouse). A photo appears at the top of this page, Stephen Bennett of AMNAS has an article on the lighthouse, and Bing has a satellite view. Built by the British, the lighthouse was maintained by the Indian Marine Service until 1951. The tower has a powerful light to guide ships through the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf. NGA lists its range as 40 nautical miles (74 km or 46 mi). This historic lighthouse was restored during 2006. Located on a small rocky islet in the Strait about 25 km (15 mi) north of the northern tip of the Musandam Peninsula. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS OMA-001; Admiralty D7335; NGA 112-28552.

Gulf of Oman Lighthouses
Sohar
2002(?). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white, red or green light depending on direction, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off. 14 m (46 ft) rectangular cylindrical steel skeletal tower. AMNAS has a photo (center of second row of thumbnails), and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This leading light guides vessels through the entrance to the modern industrial harbor of Sohar, established in 2002. About 240 km (150 mi) northwest of Masqat, Sohar is the traditional birthplace of Sindbad the Sailor. Today it is the capital of the Al Batinah region. Located near the base of the east breakwater of Sohar. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7326.25; NGA 112-28588.1.
Daymaniyat (Dayamand Islands)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 10 s. This light is described by NGA as a "metal framework tower." A panoramic view of the islands shows two buildings at the left, with a suggestion of a mast structure that may carry the light. Bing has only a fuzzy satellite view of the islands. Additional information on this station is needed. The Dayamand Islands are a chain of barren islands stretching east and west, about 15 km (9 mi) offshore and 60 km (38 mi) west of Masqat. Located on the largest of the islands, near the center of the chain. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS OMA-002; Admiralty D7324; NGA 112-28592.
Masqat (Muscat)
Mid 1930s . Active; focal plane 95 m (312 ft); white flash every 12 s. 5 m (17 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower with lantern. The entire lighthouse is white. There is a small equipment room adjoining the lighthouse. An AMNAS photo is below, Trabas has Philipp's photo, a distant photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. This historic light was upgraded and solarized in 2005. Located atop Jazirat Masqat, the giant rock that shelters the harbor of Masqat (Muscat), the capital of Oman. Site and tower closed. Admiralty D7320; NGA 112-28608.
* Sur (Ra's Ayqah, Ra's Ayja)
Date unknown (modern). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) 3-story tower with a domed roof. Taeko Tofts contributed the photo at right; Trabas has Philipp's view from the sea, another closeup and a nice view are available, and Google has a good satellite view. Sur, the capital of the Ash Sharqiyah region, is a historic port and trading center on the Gulf of Oman about 30 km (20 mi) west of Ra's al-Hadd, the easternmost tip of Arabia. Historically, the town is known for the building of dhows, the traditional Arabian sailing ships. The lighthouse was probably built by local authorities as part of the development of the area as a resort. Located on Ras Ayqah, the promontory on the east side of the harbor entrance. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS OMA-003; Admiralty D7318.1; NGA 112-28618.
Sur Lighthouse
Sur Light, August 2005
photo copyright Taeko Tofts; used by permission

Arabian Sea Lighthouses
Ras al Hadd
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); white flash every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Lantern painted white. An AMNAS photo is below, and Google has a good satellite view. (Two other towers seen in the satellite view are presumably communications towers.) According to the AMNAS web site, this lighthouse is scheduled for replacement within the next few years. Ras al Hadd is a major cape at the southwestern tip of Arabia, marking the entrance to the Gulf of Oman from the Arabian Sea. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7318; NGA 112-30902.
Salalah Inner Channel
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) rectangular cylindrical steel skeletal tower. AMNAS has a photo taken from the light (second photo in the group of four), and Google has a satellite view. Salalah is the capital of the southern Omani region of Dhofar and the second largest city in the country. This is leading light for entering the new harbor of Salalah. Located atop a bluff overlooking the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7314.2; NGA 112-30911.
Ra's Raysut (Salalah)
2009. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Senaka Pathirana has a 2011 photo, and Google has a good satellite view. In October 2009, the Oman Times announced that the lighthouse had "just commenced operations." Located on the headland of Ra's Raysut, which provides partial shelter for the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty D7314.55; NGA 112-30913.9.
Ras al Hadd Light
R'as al Hadd Light
AMNAS photo
Muscat Light
Muscat Light
AMNAS photo

 

Adjoining pages: North: Iran | South: Yemen | West: United Arab Emirates

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Posted February 16, 2006. Checked and revised April 1, 2013. Lighthouses: 9. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.