Derawan Islands

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Maratua Island shoreline

The Derawan Islands (Indonesian: Kepulauan Derawan) are in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesia. They consist of five islands, including Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaban, Maratua, Panjang, and Samama Island and submerged reefs and islets. They are located in the Sulawesi Sea, on the coastal shelf of East Kalimantan (2°17′N - 118°13′E). The islands are part of the Berau Regency.


Derawan islands is a part of Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Located in a biodiversity hotspot, the Derawan Islands feature 872 species of reef fishes, 507 species of coral, and invertebrates, including protected species (5 giants clam species, 2 sea turtles, coconut crab, etc.). Some of the islands harbor the heavily exploited turtle eggs and yet the largest green turtle nesting site in Indonesia.

Stingless jellyfish

Derawan Islands have at least two ponds contain stingless jellyfish, one in Kakaban Island and the other in Maratua Island with Haji Buang Pond. Kakaban is more famous than the second which is also more difficult to access. The pond in Kakaban consists of millions of jellyfish, ranging from the small ones to the large ones, twice as big as an adult's palm. Indonesia at least have 7 ponds with unpoisoned jellyfish, the others are 3 ponds in Raja Ampat, West Papua, one in Togean Island, Central Sulawesi and one in Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara.[1]

Resources use

There are two inhabited islands, namely Derawan (1 village of 1,259 people) and Maratua (4 villages of 2,704 people). Fishing is an important income-generating activity for the community. Since the early 1990s, people have caught live groupers, Napoleon wrasse, and lobsters, to fill high demand. There are 3 dive resorts on Derawan Islands, while more additional resorts or facilities are in the planning process.


Maratua Island is 384.36 square kilometers and has at least 13 caves, but the prediction, more than a hundred caves are not yet explored. The caves usually have connection directly to the sea. These caves originated from reef which sea water infiltrated into, creating underground channels.[2]


There are 31 named islands (see table)

Names of islands
No. Island Name Hectare (ha)
1. Semut island 6.9
2. Andongabu Island 5.3
3. Bakungan Island 8.7
4. Bantaian Island 230.6
5. Besing Island 560.1
6. Bonggong Island 123.2
7. Bulingisan Island 4.5
8. Derawan Island 44.6
9. Maratua Island 2375.7
10. Nunukan 4.8
11. Panjang Island 565.4
12. Rabu-rabu Island 26.7
13. Sangalaki Island 15.9
14. Sangalan Island 3.5
15. Sapinang Island 241.3
16. Semama Island 91.1
17. Sidau Island 31.2
18. Tiaung Island 372.5
19. Pabahanan Island 2.0
20. Kakaban 774.2
21. Sodang Besar Island 6145.8
22. Telasau Island 1080.0
23. Tempurung Island 1291.2
24. Bilang-bilangan Island 25.2
25. Manimbora Island 2.0
26. Blambangan Island 22.0
27. Sambit Island 18.0
28. Mataha Island 25.8
29. Kaniungan Besar Island 73.3
30. Kaniungan Kecil Island 10.2
31. Bali Kukup Island 18.2

Airport and seaport

On September 11, 2015 Maratua Airport with runway 1,200 meters has been operated to boost tourism and also to secure defence strategy due to Maratua island is near the border with Malaysia and the Philippines.[3] On February 13, 2017 an ATR 72 airplane has landed successfully in Maratua Airport, but it is not a scheduled flight, but a chartered flight. Until February 2017, there are no signs that scheduled flight will operate in Maratua Airport.[4] There are also plans to build seaport.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Tujuh Danau Ubur-Ubur Unik di Indonesia". Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Robby Irfany (August 26, 2015). "13 Prehistoric Caves Await Cavers in Derawan Islands". 
  3. ^ "Bandara Maratua Di Pulau Terluar Indonesia Diresmikan". September 11, 2015. 
  4. ^ Dewi Agustina (February 13, 2017). "Pesawat Wings Air Akhirnya Mendarat di Bandara Maratua". 
  5. ^ "Activists nix airport, seaport plans for Maratua Island". February 10, 2012. 

Coordinates: 2°15′N 118°25′E / 2.250°N 118.417°E / 2.250; 118.417

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