The islands bordering the Molucca Sea include Halmahera to the north east, Buru and Ceram in the centre, and Sulawesi to the west. The Talaud Islands to the north are the general limit of the sea, though the Molucca Sea Plate, the tectonic plate named after the sea, extends further north.
On the North. By a line from the Northeast extreme of Celebes [Sulawesi] through the Siau Islands to the South point of Sangi ( ) thence to the Southern extreme of the Talaud Group, through these islands to their Northeastern extreme ( ) and thence a line to Tanjong Sopi, the Northern point of Morotai Island.
On the East. By the West coast of Morotai from Tanjong Sopi as far South as Wajaboela (Halmahera and down its West coast to Tanjong Libolo, its Southern extreme.), thence a line to the Northern point of
On the South. A line from the Southern extreme of Halmahera to the North point of Bisa (Setile) Island, thence to the Northern extreme of Obi Major, through this island to Tanjong Ake Lamo, its Southwestern point, thence to Tanjong Dehekolano, the Eastern extremity of the Soela [Sula] Islands, along their Northern coasts to Tanjong Marikasoe, the Western extreme, thence a line to the Southeast point of Banggai Island ( ).
On the West. The East coasts of Banggai and Peleng Islands to North Bangkalan ( ) thence a line to Tg. Botok (Celebes) ( ) round the coast to Tg. Pasir Pandjang ( ) and across to Tg. Tombalilatoe (123°21'E) on the opposite coast, thence up the East coast to Tg. Poeisan, the Northeastern extreme of Celebes.
The Molucca sea was an active area for spice trade, and was controlled by 4 sultanates.
The sea is a very seismically active area due to the Molucca Sea Plate.
- "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
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