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 volume Q 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

Banda Sea Islands Lighthouses

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. Several 1-story station buildings. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse is part of a new coast guard station. Located on the northwestern tip of Pulau Kei Besar, the easternmost island of the Kei group. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q1631.5.
* 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. It appears that the lighthouse was painted blue, but most of that paint has worn off. Google has a street view, 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 Q1631; NGA 25848.
Tanimbar Kei (Keitanimbar, Kaitanimbar, Atnebar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square white skeletal tower. Two 1-story station buildings. 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 Q1628.8; 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. No photo available, but 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 Q1628.93.
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 a street view and 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 Q1630; 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, but Bing has a distant 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 Q1629; 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. Several 1-story station buildings. 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 Q1628.5; 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 Q1628; NGA 25824.

Central Maluku Regency: Remote 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) (2)
Date unknown (2017?). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square white skeletal tower on a concrete base. Semmie Hukom's photo is at right, and Google has a distant satellite view of the location. This lighthouse replaced a 12 m (39 ft) tower with a flared top. Located on the quay at Banda Naira, the principal town of the islands. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1626; NGA 25812.

Banda Naira Light, Banda Islands, March 2018
Google Plus photo by Semmie Hukom
Tanjung Bati (Lautaka) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 40 m (131 ft); red flash every 10 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower. Efilina Kissiya has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. NGA lists a much smaller and lower tower. Located on a promontory on the east side of the entrance to the sheltered bay of Banda Naira. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q1626.5; NGA 25816.
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, and Bing has a distant 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 Q1625; 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 Bing has a 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 (these islands are not seen at all in Google's satellite view). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q1598; NGA 25810.
Pulau Mai
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. Three 1-story station buildings. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the station. 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 Q1597.5.
Pulau Manuk
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower. Chandra Morsono's photo is at right, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Pulau Manuk is isolated, uninhabited 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. Not listed by the Admiralty.
Pulau Manuk Light
Pulau Manuk Light, Banda Sea, April 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Chandra Marsono

Seram and Ambon 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. Ambon Island lies off the southwest coast of Seram, separated by a narrow strait. 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.
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 Q1605.1.
* 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, but Bing has a satellite view. Teluk Hatiling (Hatiling Bay), a few miles east of the village of Wahai, is the deepwater port for the North Seram District. Located at the passenger terminal. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1605.6.
* Kobisadar (Kobi Sadar)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 23 m (75 ft); white light, flash every 3 s (?). Approx. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. Giliat Tapatab's photo is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the passenger terminal at Kobisadar, a small port about 40 km (25 mi) east of Wahai. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1605.68.

East Seram Regency Lighthouses
* 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. The tower is at the right edge of Tember Susena's 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 Q1605.9.

Kobisadar Light, Central Seram, May 2018
Google Plus photo by Giliat Tapatab
* Pulau 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. Agunawan Opa has a photo, and 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 Q1608; NGA 25800.
Tanjung Namalen (Pulau Gorong)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This light guides vessels around the eastern end of Seram and its associated islands. Located off the northeastern tip of Pulau Gorong, an island about 50 km (30 mi) east of the southeastern tip of Seram. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1610.5; NGA 25798.
* Bemu
2017. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the passenger terminal in Bemu, a small port facing Taluti Bay on the south coast of Seram. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1610.9.

Central Maluku Regency: Seram South Coast Lighthouses
* Tehoru
2017. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. The light is at the left in Erwin Harianto's photo, but the tower is too new to appear in Bing's satellite view. Located at the passenger terminal in Tehoru, a district town on the west side of Taluti Bay. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1611.06.
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. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of narrow peninsula sheltering the harbor of Amahai on the south coast of Seram. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q1611.8; NGA 25803.
* Teluk Amahai (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 21 m (69 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Richard Monny's photo is at the top of this page, and Google has a closeup photo and an indistinct satellite view. NGA lists a 9 m (30 ft) tower. Located on the quay at Amahai. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1612; 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, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the new quay at Masohi, about 7 km (4 mi) northeast of Amahai. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q1612.3.
* 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 Bing has an indistinct 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 Q1616; NGA 25804.

Central Maluku Regency: Ambon Lighthouses
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 Q1620; 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 Bing's satellite view. Note: the light is in Kota Ambon (Ambon City), which is independent of Central Maluku Regency. Located on the ferry quay in downtown Ambon. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1622; NGA 25782.
Wayame
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at a Pertamina oil terminal across the bay from Ambon city. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q1621.01.
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 Bing has a 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 Q1621; 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 Bing 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 Q1619; NGA 25773.

West Seram Regency Lighthouses
* Hatu Piru Bandar
2017. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. Stevy Yotlely has a view from the end of the pier, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the foot of the pier and a new deepwater port for Piru, a port at the northern end of Latira Bay, a deep embayment at the west end of Seram. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1612.75.
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 Q1600; NGA 25752.
Pulau Niene
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square white skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. 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 Q1600.5; NGA 25754.

Buru 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.
Buru Regency Lighthouses
* Teluk Bara (Bara Bay)
2017. 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 too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located at a brand-new deepwater port at Bara Bay on the northwest coast of Buru. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q1597.3.
Tanjung Kerbau (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 3 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square white skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. NGA lists a smaller tower. 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 Q1599; 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. Safirotul Huda's photo is at right, Retna Rumayanti has a photo, 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 Q1594; 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 the tower is apparently too new to appear in Bing's 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 Q1599.3.
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 Q1599.5; NGA 25751.

Namlea Light, Namlea, Buru, May 2013
Google Plus photo by Safirotul Huda
* 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, and Bing has a 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 Q1595.
* 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 Q1596; 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 Q1597; NGA 25746.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

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

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Posted December 31, 2008. Checked and revised May 18, 2018. Lighthouses: 41. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.