Lighthouses of Indonesia: Northeastern Sumatra

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.

Sumatra (or, in the Indonesian spelling, Sumatera) is the world's sixth largest island and the westernmost of the major islands of Indonesia. It is separated from Malaysia to the north by the Malacca Strait, from Borneo to the northeast by the broad Karimata Strait, and from Java to the southeast by the Sunda Strait. Its south coast faces the open Indian Ocean.

Sumatra is divided into eight provinces. This page includes lighthouses of the east coast of North Sumatra Province. Lighthouses of the west coast of North Sumatra Province are described on the Northwestern Sumatra page.

The Indonesian word for a lighthouse is mercusuar or (in two words) mercu suar. The phrase menara suar, which includes the Arabic word menara, is sometimes used instead. Tanjung and ujung are words for capes, bukit is a hill, pulau is an island, selat is a strait, karang is a reef, sungai is a river or estuary, teluk is a bay or harbor, and pelabuhan is a port.

Aids to navigation in Indonesia are operated and maintained by the Directorate General of Marine Navigation (Direktorat Jenderal Navigasi Laut).

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. (Volume F includes lights north of the Equator and Volume Q includes lights south of the Equator.) U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Lighthouses in Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia; most of the photos are historic.
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Indonesia - Volume F and Volume Q
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
GPSNavigationCharts
Nautical charts for the Malacca Strait area.
Navionics Charts
Nautical charts for the Malacca Strait area.

Tanjung Sibungabunga Light, Serdang Bedagai, October 2017
Google Maps photo by Galang Pandu Satria
Deli Serdang Regency (Belawan Area) Lighthouses
Belawan, a city of about 100,000 residents, is the seaport associated with the provincial capital of Medan. With a metropolitan population of more than 4 million, Medan is Indonesia's largest city outside Java. This helps make Belawan Indonesia's second busiest port after Jakarta. Belawan is also the terminal for ferries crossing the Strait of Malacca to Penang, Malaysia.

Nipah Larangan (Nipahlarangang) (2)
2014(?) (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 40 m (131 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and galley, painted white, rising from an octagonal building. Several coast guard station buildings. Google has a satellite view. However, the lighthouse is now critically endangered. Maringan Tobing has an August 2017 photo showing the tower with a lean of at least 15° (like the Leaning Tower of Pisa). We don't know if this is caused by storm damage or a poor foundation. The original lighthouse was a tapered square skeletal tower. Located on a low cape a short distance east of Kuala Besar and about 16 km (10 mi) north of Belawan. Site status unknown. ARLHS IDO-172; Admiralty F1352; NGA 22400.
Belawan (Deli River) (?)
Date unknown (lightship station established 1890). Inactive at least since 2015. 20 m (66 ft) green tower, presumably on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. This light was dropped from the 2015 NGA List. Located on a shoal about 4 km (2.5 mi) offshore and 10 km (6 mi) north of the entrance to Belawan harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty F1355; ex-NGA 22408.
Belawan Beacon II (Common Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available and the light is not seen in Google's satellite view. This is the rear light for both inbound and outbound ranges. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) off the harbor entrance at Belawan. Site and tower closed. ARLHS IDO-109; Admiralty F1356; NGA 22416.
Belawan Beacon V (Range Rear)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Hadanata Lim has a photo of the lighthouse in action and Google has a satellite view. This is the rear light of a harbor approach range. Located on a shoal in Belawan harbor. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F1362.1; NGA 22428.

Serdang Bedagai Regency Lighthouses
Tanjung Sibungabunga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 3 s. 19 m (62 ft) octagonal cylindrical white concrete tower with two galleries. Galang Pandu Satria's photo is at the top of this page and Google has a satellite view. Located near the waterfront in Serdang Bedagai northeast of Medan. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1374.5; NGA 22449.
Gosong-Gosong Bunga (Bunga Banks)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 17 m (56 ft) fiberglass tower, colored black with a red horizontal band and mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available and the light is not shown in Google's satellite view. Located on a shoal on the south side of the main channel in the Strait of Malacca 17 km (10.5 mi) northeast of Tanjung Sibungabunga. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1374; NGA 22450.
Pulau Berhala (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 192 m (630 ft); four white flashes every 19 s. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) 2-stage octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. An aerial photo and a distant view (a little over halfway the way down the page) is available and Bing has a distant satellite view. NGA lists a 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower. Located on a small, isolated high island about 50 km (30 mi) off the coast in the Strait of Malacca. Probably accessible only by helicopter. Admiralty F1375; NGA 22452.
Kuala Bedagai (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. Described as a 13 m (43 ft) square white skeletal tower but Google's satellite view appears to show a round white concrete tower. Located at a beach village at the east end of the regency. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1375.5; NGA 22456.

Batubara Regency Lighthouses
Pankalan Dodek (2)
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. Google has a street view and a fuzzy satellite view. The original lighthouse had a focal plane height of 15 m (49 ft). Located on the Pangkalan River waterfront at Pangkalen Dodek, about 20 km (13 mi) northwest of Tanjungbalai. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1376.5; NGA 22458.
Kuala Tanjung West
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft); white light, pattern unknown. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square white skeletal tower. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. The Port of Kuala Tanjung is under rapid development in recent years. Located at the foot of the westrn pier at Kuala Tanjung. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F1376.7.
Kuala Tanjung
2018. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) white post mounted on a port control building. A 2019 photo is available, but the facilities are too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located at the end of a long pier at Kuala Tanjung. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F1377.5.
Pulau Pandang (North Brother Island) (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Alam dan Sejarah has a closeup photo (1/3 the way down the page), Amri Hakim has a distant aerial view, a 2018 view is available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. NGA lists a 12 m (39 ft) skeletal tower. Located about 15 km (9 mi) northeast of Pulau Salahnama. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1378; NGA 22460.
Pulau Salahnama (South Brother Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 121 m (397 ft); white flash every 6 s. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Part of Akbar Suhairi's view is at right and Bing has a distant satellite view. This island and its shorter neighbor Pulau Pandang (North Brother) are well-known hazards to navigation along the Sumatran coast. Located on an island in the Strait of Malacca about 20 km (13 mi) off the coast north of Tanjung Balai. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1378.5; NGA 22462.
Tanjung Tiram
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. This light is in line with the range lights (next entries). Located off the entrance to Kuala Batubara. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1379; NGA 22468.
Tanjung Tiram Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) white concrete tower enclosed by white daymark panels and mounted on a triangular platform supported by piles. A 2018 photo of the two range lights is available and Google has a satellite view. Located just offshore on the east side of the entrance to Kuala Batubara. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1378.7; NGA 22463.
Tanjung Tiram Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) white concrete tower enclosed by white daymark panels and mounted on a triangular platform supported by piles. A 2018 photo of the two range lights is available and Google has a satellite view. Located at the shoreline 320 m (1050 ft) south of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1378.71; NGA 22463.5.
 

Pulau Salahnama Light, Batubara, October 2014
ex-Google Plus photo by Amri Hakim
Tanjung Tambuntulang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 4 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal white concrete tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located about 2 km (1.25 mi) off a promontory about 8 km (5 mi) east of the town of Tanjung Tiram. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1379.2; NGA 22471.

Asahan Regency Lighthouses
Sungai Asahan Outer Bar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) red beacon mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but the shadow of the light is seen in Bing's satellite view. Located off the mouth of the Asahan River, which leads to the port of Tanjungbalai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1382; NGA 22480.
Sungai Asahan Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two white flashes every 4 s. 13 m (43 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. Alexander Pushkov has a distant view and Google has a satellite view. Located in the Asahan River off the port of Perikanen. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1379.5; NGA 22481.
Sungai Asahan Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 16 m (52 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located in the Asahan River 1.35 km (0.84 mi) south of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1379.51; NGA 22481.1.
Tanjung Siapiapi (Siapi-Api)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located just off a low cape east of Tanjungbalai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1383.8; NGA 22485.

North Labuhan Batu Regency Lighthouse
Tanjung Ledung (Leiding)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west side of the entrance to the Leidong estuary in Kuala Leidong. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1390; NGA 22486.

Labuhan Batu Regency (Sungai Panai) Lighthouses
Tanjung Datu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 m (49 ft) white hourglass-shaped fiberglass tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the west side of the entrance to the Sungai Panai, the Panai estuary. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1384.2; NGA 22487.
* Sei Berombang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 4 s. 17 m (56 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. A photo is at right and Google has a satellite view. Located on the quay at Sei Berombang, a town on the east side of the Panai estuary. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F1384.6.
Tanjung Lumbalumba
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) white skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located in a right-angle bend of the Panai estuary about 10 km (6 mi) south of Sei Berombang. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1385; NGA 22488.
 
Pulau Kantan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); green flash every 4 s. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted green and mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located off the northern tip of an island in the Panai estuary. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1385.5; NGA 22489.
 
 

Sei Berombang Light, Sei Berombang, March 2018
Google Maps photo by Ahyar Ahyar

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Aceh | Northeast: West Malaysia South Coast | South: Eastern Sumatra

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Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised January 17, 2021. Lighthouses: 26. Site copyright 2021 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.