Sailing Guide

Belawan Harbor (NE Sumatra)

Belawan Harbor (NE Sumatra)



Belawan, the most important port in Sumatera, lies at the confluence of the Sungai Belawan and the Sungai Deli about 8 miles S of the lighted approach buoy. Ample, modern alongside berthing facilities are available for handling all classes of ocean-going vessels capable of transiting the dredged entrance channel. Belawan is a first port of entry.


The tidal rise at Belawan is 2.4m at MHWS, and 1.2m at MHWN. The highest level of water is reached in about the middle of May and November. There is a tide gauge near the W end of Ocean Quay.
Outside the entrance of the dredged channel to Belawan, the flood sets to the SE and the ebb to the NNW, both at a maximum rate of 2 knots.
At neaps there are periods with no currents at all. At the outer entrance of the dredged channel the current sets in the direction of the fairway, the ebb attaining a rate of 3 knots at springs and the flood a rate of less than 2 knots.
It has been reported that the tidal current at Ocean Quay turns about 1 hour later than at the entrance of the dredged channel.


The approach channel to Belawan is approximately 9 miles in length, 100m in width and has a depth of 8.5m at LWS. The channel is well marked by navigational aids and is free of dangers.
The channel is subject to continuous silting and therefore the channel depths may be subject to frequent changes.
The port can accommodate vessels up to 200m in length, with a maximum draft of 10m.
An offshore oil loading area is marked by a group of four mooring buoys. The facility is connected to the coast by a submarine pipeline 3 miles SSE of Nipah Larangan Light. It lies within a charted pipeline area 0.5 mile wide across Belawan Channel.


Tanjung Perling, the SE entrance point of the river, can only be identified from the SE. Under favorable conditions Gunung Gulu and the adjacent mountains and the Van Heutsz range, SE and S of Belawan, can be distinguished.

When approaching from the NE, a vessel should steer for the valley between the two ranges.
Other good landmarks are a group of oil tanks (3°47'N., 98°41'E.), two chimneys with red and white bands E of Belawan, and an adjacent orange painted building SW of the town which is reported to be conspicuous from seaward in the afternoon.
A silo on the cement wharf on the W side of the basin (Citra Ujung Boru) is reported to be the most prominent object in the port area.


Pilotage for vessels over 150 grt is compulsory and is available 24 hours. Send the vessel’s ETA 48 hours in advance.
The pilot should be ordered through the vessel’s agent at least 8 hours in advance, stating the ETA, cargo, length, and draft. The pilot boards near Lighted Buoy No. 2.


Vessels leaving Belawan have priority over those entering. Large vessels are not permitted to pass in the channel. An underkeel clearance of 1m is required when transiting the approach channel.


Traffic signals for controlling movement for the port may be shown from the pilot vessel, the Harbor Office Flagstaff (3°47.3'N., 98°41.5'E.), and the entrance to the Sungai Nunang (3°47.5'N., 98°41.2'E.).
Signals prohibiting movement by vessels from 1,050 to 3,500 grt are, as follows:

1. By day—A black ball between two black cones points up.
2. At night—White, red, white lights shown vertically signifies vessels are not to enter the harbor and that no vessel in the anchorage is to shift its berth without the harbormaster’s approval.
3. By day—A black cone (point up) over two black balls, signifies that vessels may enter the harbor if their draft does not exceed 4m.

Suction dredges are at work in the entrance channel and will display the following signals in addition to the prescribed lights and marks:

1. By day, if the dredges are at work, a cone at the yardarm indicates that vessels should keep to the E side of the channel.
2. Two cones at the yardarm indicate that vessels should keep to the W side of the channel.
3. If the dredges are anchored with the suction apparatus on the bottom, an anchor at the yardarm indicates that vessels should pass on the side on which the anchor is shown.
4. By night, if the suction apparatus is on the bottom, a green light at the yardarm indicates that vessels should keep to the E side of the channel.
5. A red light at the yardarm indicates that vessels should keep to the W side of the channel.
6. When the suction apparatus is not on the bottom, no special signals will be made.

When two dredges are working at a distance of not more than 0.25 mile apart, in the event of a vessel approaching, the dredge farthest away from the approaching vessel will cross over to the same side of the channel as the dredge nearest the approaching vessel.
Off-lying anchors of dredges working in the channel are marked by drums. Vessels are prohibited from passing between the drums and the dredge.
Great care must be exercised in passing a dredge on the bar, as the narrowness of the channel permits very little maneuvering room.


The outer anchorage for Belawan is situated in position 3°55'N, 98°46'E and is also designated as the pilot boarding station.
Anchorage is prohibited in the following areas:
1. Within about 0.3 mile on either side of the axis of the dredged channel leading to Belawan, S of 3°55'N.
2. Within the pipeline area extending from the coast to the loading area in position 3°51'N, 98°47'E.
3. In Pelabuhan Belawan, E of 98°41'E.

Caution.—Numerous wrecks, best seen on the chart, lie in the approaches to and adjacent waters of Belawan. Mariners should exercise caution when approaching the port.

PT. Pelabuhan Indonesia
Jalan Krakatau Ujung 100
Belawan Medan-Indonesia
Phone : 62-61-610444
FAX : 62-61-610906

Belawan Harbor (NE Sumatra)
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