One Fathom Bank Lighthouse

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One Fathom Bank Lighthouse
Rumah Api One Fathom Bank
One Fathom Bank Lighthouse (new), Selangor.png
The "new" One Fathom Bank Lighthouse, activated 1999.
One Fathom Bank Lighthouse is located in Malaysia
One Fathom Bank Lighthouse
Location One Fathom Bank (Permatang Sedepa), off the coast of Selangor, Malaysia
Coordinates 2°53′03″N 100°59′08″E / 2.88417°N 100.98556°E / 2.88417; 100.98556Coordinates: 2°53′03″N 100°59′08″E / 2.88417°N 100.98556°E / 2.88417; 100.98556[1]
Year first constructed 1852 (first)
1874 (second)
1907 (third)
Year first lit 1999 (current)
Deactivated 1999 (third)
Construction pile lighthouse (current and third)
Tower shape cylindrical tower with triple balcony and lantern(current)
octagonal tower (third)
Markings / pattern red and white horizontal bands tower (third and current)
Height 27 metres (89 ft) (third);
43 metres (141 ft) (current)
Focal height 43 metres (141 ft)
Range 23 nautical miles (43 km; 26 mi)[1]
Characteristic Fl (4) W 20s.[1]
Admiralty number F1616 (current)[2]
NGA number 21784 (current)[2]
ARLHS number WMA-030 (third);
WMA-007 (current)[2]

The One Fathom Bank Lighthouse (Malay: Rumah Api One Fathom Bank or Rumah Api Permatang Sedepa) refers to two offshore lighthouses in the Strait of Malacca, specifically, on a shoal within Malaysian waters, dubbed One Fathom Bank (Permatang Sedepa), off the coast of the state of Selangor.

The One Fathom Bank station originally consisted of a single screw-pile lighthouse that has been replaced twice over the course of its 147 years in service, but saw the addition of a newer, larger counterpart close by that superseded duties of the older lighthouse in 1999. The lighthouses have since been referred to as the "old" One Fathom Bank Lighthouse and the "new" One Fathom Bank Lighthouse; the old One Fathom Bank Lighthouse is retained but is currently inactive.

As neither lighthouse is located on any body of dry land, both locations are only accessible by boat. While both sites of the lighthouses are open, their towers remain off-limits.[2]


The present "old lighthouse" is the third iteration of the One Fathom Bank Lighthouse to be built. It was deactivated after the new lighthouse began operation in 1999.

First reported during the mid-19th century by John Turnbull Thomson, a hydrographic surveyor, One Fathom Bank is a shoal located in the Strait of Malacca, between North Sands and South Sands, 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest from the Klang Delta in Selangor.[2][3] The sandbank had apparently emerged during low tide, with water depths of less than two and a half fathoms (4.6 m).[3]

The solidity of One Fathom Bank encouraged the British to build a lighthouse at the site in 1852 to prevent ships from running aground on the notoriously dangerous shoal, and to provide other navigational needs.[2][3] The first lighthouse was later replaced by a screw-pile lighthouse in 1874, followed by a third iteration in 1907, a concrete-pile lighthouse that was completed at the cost of £246,963.31 and remains standing to date.[3]

The third lighthouse remained operational until the completion of a fourth lighthouse in 1999, which was erected parallel to the old lighthouse some 500 metres (1,600 ft) away at a cost of RM18 million to provide greater security.[2][3] While the older lighthouse has been deactivated and abandoned, efforts were made by the Department of Marine and related authorities, such as the Department of Public Works and the then Department of Museums and Antiquities, to restore it in 2004 and 2005 due to its historical and architectural value.[2][3] After the founding of Port Swettenham (Port Klang) in 1893, both lighthouses also acted as a beacon on the approach to the port.[3]


Old lighthouse[edit]

The present "old" One Fathom Bank Lighthouse is essentially a 27-metre (89 ft) high concrete-pile lighthouse.[2] Built on a circular-like arrangement of piles, the lighthouse is generally designed as an octagonal structure: Both the two storey keeper's house standing on the piles and the skeletal cast iron tower above that houses and supports the lantern, gallery, and watchroom are octagonal; the tower supporting the lantern tapers towards the top.[2][3] The lighthouse tower was also painted with red and white horizontal bands, which has since faded[2] and repainted white.

New lighthouse[edit]

The newer, modernised One Fathom Bank Lighthouse was constructed in 1999 with the intended purpose of accommodating better equipment, but is similarly based on pilings. At 43 metres (141 ft),[2] the new lighthouse dwarfs the old lighthouse, and contains more space and an additional concrete jetty to support larger sea vessels.

The lighthouse consists of a round cylindrical steel tower, similarly painted with red and white horizontal bands, rising from the centre of a dome-shaped equipment shelter and supporting the lantern and triple gallery; the dome is further mounted on a circular platform supported by the pilings.[2] The roof is made from high-quality polycarbonate and polished metal.[3]

Both One Fathom Bank Lighthouses are situated a mere 500 metres apart, as seen in this photograph.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Rumah Api One Fathom Bank". Marine Department of Malaysia. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Malaya (West Malaysia)". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dr A Ghafar Ahmad. "Restoration of Old One Fathom Bank Lighthouse, Selangor". School of Housing, Building & Planning, University of Science, Malaysia. Retrieved 10 September 2008.