Lighthouses of Suriname

Suriname, the former Dutch Guiana, is an independent nation on the north coast of South America, located between Guyana to the west and French Guiana to the east. Although it was colonized first by the British, Suriname was conquered by the Netherlands in 1667 and remained a Dutch colony until it became independent in 1975.

Remarkably, the shores of Suriname shelter the remains of three historic lightships. Thanks to Iris Klempau and Michel Forand for researching these vessels.

Dutch remains the official language in Suriname. The Dutch word for a lighthouse is vuurtoren; hoek is a cape, and rivier is a river. The country has two ports, Parimaribo and Nieuw Nickerie. Aids to navigation are presumably maintained by the national port authority, Havenbeheer Suriname.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Suriname
Photos by various photographers posted by Alex Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - Suriname
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Nieuw Nickerie Lighthouse
Note: Nieuw Nickerie, Suriname's second largest city, is located at the northwestern corner of the country, across the Boven Corantijn River from Guyana.
#Nickerie Rivier (?)
Date unknown. Inactive since 2011. 21 m (69 ft) tower, form unknown. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the area. The light was dropped from the NGA List in 2011; it has been replaced in the light lists by an aerobeacon on a communications tower. Located on a point of land on the west side of the entrance to the Nickerie River, near Nieuw Nickerie. Site status unknown, but the area is open and it should not be difficult to locate the light. ARLHS SUR-005; ex-Admiralty J6866; ex-NGA 17356.

Lightship Suriname Rivier
Lightship Suriname Rivier, April 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Nicholas Laughlin


Parimaribo Area Lightships
* Lightship Suriname 1 (Suriname Rivier)
1911 (station established 1858). Decommissioned in 1972. Steel lightship with a round light tower, lantern and gallery. Ship painted red. Nicholas Laughlin's photo is at the top of this page, Jeffrey van der Wees has a 2009 photo, a closeup of the light tower is available, Vanessa Decort has a 2006 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Michel Forand has documented at least five light vessels known to have served the Suriname Rivier station off the entrance to Parimaribo, the national capital. This is believed to be the third. Lightphotos.net has a historic photo of the ship nearing completion in 1910 in the Netherlands. There is another historic photo (2/3 of the way down the page) of the ship, rigged as a sail-driven vessel and with its light tower taken down, leaving the Netherlands for Suriname in 1911. Lightphotos.net also has a photo of the ship on station. Site open, vessel closed.
Lightship Suriname 2 (ex U.S. LV-106/WAL-528)
1923 (on station in Suriname from 1968). Decommissioned 1981. 40.3 m (132 ft) 2-masted steel lightship. According to the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's page, this ship served originally as the Nantucket. After World War II it was reassigned as a relief lightvessel until 1968, when it was sold to Suriname. Presently it is an abandoned hulk beached with its sister ship LV-109 on the Suriname River near the Overbridge Resort, about 50 km (30 mi) south of Paramaribo; a photo of the two ships is available, Lightphotos.net also has a photo of the two ships, and a Google satellite view probably shows them. Lightphotos.net has a photo of the ship in U.S. service as the Relief and another photo of the ship on station as the Suriname. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed.
Lightship Suriname 3 (ex U.S. LV-109/WAL-531)
1923 (on station in Suriname from 1968). Decommissioned 1981. 40.3 m (132 ft) 2-masted steel lightship. According to the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's page, this ship served originally for 30 years as a relief lightvessel. In 1954 it was assigned as the Savannah, and it served briefly (1965-66) as the New Orleans. Presently it is an abandoned hulk beached with its sister ship LV-106 on the Suriname River near the Overbridge Resort, about 50 km (30 mi) south of Paramaribo; a photo of the two ships is available, Lightphotos.net also has a photo of the two ships, and a Google satellite view probably shows them. Accessible only by boat. Site open, vessel closed.

Maroni River Lighthouse
Hoek Galibi (Maroni River) (3)
Date unknown (station established 1871). Inactive since 2012. 60 m (197 ft) square skeletal tower, mounted on four concrete piers. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Google has a satellite view. The first lighthouse, a 21 m (69 ft) pyramidal tower, was replaced in 1897 by a 16 m (52 ft) hexagonal skeletal tower. Located at Hoek (Cape) Galibi on the west side of the entrance to the Maroni River, which forms the boundary between Suriname and French Guiana. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SUR-001; ex-Admiralty J6882; ex-NGA 17400.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: French Guiana | West: Guyana

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Posted November 30, 2006. Checked and revised March 6, 2014. Lighthouses: 2; lightships: 3. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.