Natuna Regency

Natuna Regency is an islands regency located in the northernmost part of the Province of Riau Islands, Indonesia. It contains at least 154 islands, of which 127 of them are reported as uninhabited. This archipelago, with 264,198.37 km2 area,[6] contains the island district of Pulau Laut, Bunguran/Greater Natuna Island, the island district of Pulau Tiga, the island district of Midai, the island district of Subi, and the island district of Serasan.

Natuna Regency
Kabupaten Natuna
Other transcription(s)
  Jawiكڤولاوان ناتونا
From top, left to right:
Natuna Sea, Mount Ranai, Ranai Airport, Endangered bird, Serasan Island harbour, Sekatung Island
Malay: Laut Sakti Rantau Bertuah
(Sacred Ocean, Fortune Land)
Interactive map
Natuna Regency
Location in Riau Islands
Natuna Regency
Location in Sumatra
Natuna Regency
Location in Indonesia
Natuna Regency
Location in South China Sea
Coordinates: 4°N 108°E / 4; 108
Province Riau Islands
Discovery by I-Tsing671 A.D.[1]
Condominium of Johor Sultanate and Pattani Kingdom1597[1]
Afdeeling van Pulau Tudjuh1913
Regency established12 October 1999[2]
Incorporation of Tambelan Archipelago into Bintan Regency18 December 2003[3][4]
Creation of Anambas Islands Regency31 July 2008[5]
Administrative division12 districts[6]
77 villages
  BodyRegency's Government of Natuna Islands
  Regent (Bupati)Wan Siswandi Wan Abdulatif[7]
  Vice Regent (Wakil Bupati)Rodhial Huda (Hanura)
  CouncilRegency Council of Natuna
  Member of Provincial Parliament
List of MPPs
  Total264,198.37 km2 (102,007.56 sq mi)
  Land2,001.30 km2 (772.71 sq mi)
  Water262,197.07 km2 (101,234.85 sq mi)  99.24%
 (2020 census[8])
  Density41/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+07:00 (Western Indonesia Time/W.I.B)
  • 29775 to 29778 - Natuna Besar
  • 29779 - Subi Island
  • 2978x - rest of the islands
Area code(+62) 773
Registration platesBP 1234 N×[9]
HDI (2020) 0.7275 High[10]

With 81,495 inhabitants (2020 census),[8] most of the population are Malays with 11% of Javanese migrants, Chinese, Minang, Batak, Banjar people, Dayak people, Buginese people, Sundanese people, and tiny percentage of migrants who come from Sulawesi, Bali, and other provinces across Indonesia.[11] From 80% of its Malay inhabitants or 65,196 of them, numerous were descended from Terengganuan, Johorean, and Pattanian descent as results of contact established since 1597. The consequence of this is the usage of Terengganuan Malay beside Indonesian language as official language and Malay language as lingua franca across Province of Riau Islands.[12]

Throughout most of its history since the reigns of Sultanate of Riau-Lingga, Natuna were part of Archipelago of Seven Islands/Pulau-pulau Tudjuh/Tujuh which were consisted of Anambas Islands (currently a separated regency in province), Badas Islands (part of Island District of Tambelan in Bintan Regency), Great Natuna/Bunguran Islands, Sejang, Serasan Islands, Subi Islands, and Tambelan Archipelago (part of Bintan Regency).[13] Although government of Kawedanan of Tudjuh Archipelago was dissolved in 1964, its island districts/kecamatan who formed Tudjuh Archipelago still existed until its dissolution in 1999, the sunrise of devolution era government in Indonesia. Along the second half of the 20th centuries, there were at least two historical events that made Natuna: first was oil discoveries in 1969 and second was the Islands history as destination for South Vietnamese refugees in 1976.[14]

Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Natuna is slightly overlapped by China's widely disputed South China Sea claim.[15]


The Natuna Islands were discovered by I-Tsing in 671 A.D. and mentioned throughout his notes in A Record of Buddhist Practices Sent Home from the Southern Sea. The most notable history of Natuna Islands followed upon the decision of Alauddin Riayat Shah III of Johor and Green Queen of Pattani Kingdom to claim Natuna Islands as part of their condominium.[5][16][17] However, before the Sultan of Johor and the Pattani Monarch declared Natuna Islands as their condominium in 1597, its previous King, Alauddin Riayat II, created Datuk Kayas'/Dukes' titles as follows:

  1. Datok Amar Lela for ruler of Jemaja Island
  2. Datok Kaya Dewa Perkasa for ruler of Siantan Island
  3. Datuk Kaya Indra Pahlawan for ruler of Serindit Island, (later known as Great Natuna Island)
  4. Datuk Kaya Timbalan Siamah for ruler of Tambelan Islands.[1]


The Natuna Islands are a 272-island archipelago of Indonesia, located in the Natuna Sea[18][19] between Peninsular Malaysia to the west and Borneo to the east. They extend in a NNW direction for 300 km from Tanjung Api, the northwest extremity of Kalimantan/Borneo. The Natuna Sea itself is a section of the South China Sea.

The North Group consists of a large island (Pulau Laut), two small islands and several adjacent islets and reefs which lie about 50 km NNW of Natuna Besar Island. Pulau Laut is about 11 km long with a greatest width of 5 km towards the south; it is generally hilly, rising to 273 metres near its north end.

The Middle Group consists of Natuna Besar or Bunguran Island, which contains the bulk of the area and population of the archipelago, together with small offshore islets and reefs; the Bodas Islands (Kepulauan Bodas) are a group of moderately high wooded islands lying close to the southwest coast of Natuna Besar.

The Southern Group (Kepulauan Natuna Selatan) consists primarily of two groups of islands separated from the coast of Kalimantan by the Api Passage. The Subi Islands (Kepulauan Subi) of which the main islands are Subi Besar, Subi Kecil, Bakau, Panjang and Seraya, lie southeast of Natuna Besar. Serasan Island (Pulau Serasan) is the largest of the islands lying further to the southeast and nearer to Kalimantan.

The highest point of this Islands is Mount Ranai at 1,035 metres (3,396 ft). The island had a population of 52,000 inhabitants according to the 2010 census. The principal settlement is Ranai. The island can be reached by scheduled air services via Ranai Airport.

Natural resources

Natuna has large reserves of natural gas (estimated at 1.3 billion m3) that is exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore. Matak Island now serves as an offshore exploitation base.


The Natuna Islands are part of the Borneo lowland rain forests ecoregion.[20]

The Natuna Islands have a remarkable avifauna with 71 species of bird registered, including the near-threatened lesser fish eagle, the Natuna serpent-eagle. Other endangered species include the green iora, the brown fulvetta or the green broadbill.[21]

The Natuna Islands is home to three species of non-human primates: the slow loris (Nycticebus coucang), the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), and the Natuna leaf monkey (a.k.a. Natuna pale-thighed surili, Presbytis natunae).[22][23] A small number of wild goats live on the island as well as sea birds. Over 360 species of bird have been recorded on the island.[24]

Colourful coral reefs are found in the neighbouring waters. The Natuna banded leaf monkey, Presbytis natunae,[25] is among the 25 most endangered primates on Earth.

Government and Politics


As of 2010, the Regency was divided into twelve districts (kecamatan), but on 10 December 2014 three additional districts were created by dividing existing districts. The fifteen districts are tabulated below from north to south with their areas and their populations at the 2010 census[26] and the 2020 census.[27] The table also includes the location of the district administrative centres, the number of administrative villages (rural desa and urban kelurahan) within each district and its postcode.

NameEnglish nameArea
No. of
Pulau Laut(North Island)37.642,1692,319Air Payang329789
Bunguran Utara(North Bunguran)405.883,8174,525Kelarik829775
Bunguran Timur Laut(Northeast Bunguran)299.424,3065,372Tanjung729776
Bunguran Tengah(Central Bunguran)85.952,8343,677Harapan Jaya329778
Bunguran Timur(East Bunguran)142.1422,80027,806Ranai729777
Bunguran Barat(West Bunguran)248.3810,8937,854Sedanau529782
Bunguran Batubi214.81(a)3,882Batubi Jaya529782
Bunguran Selatan(South Bunguran)234.562,5373,349Cemaga429783
Pulau Tiga(East Tiga Island)41.554,8263,727Sabang Mawang Barat629788
Pulau Tiga Barat(West Tiga Island)17.41(b)2,109Pulau Tiga429788
Midai(Midai Island)13.805,0073,604Sabang Barat529784
Suak Midai(Midai Island)12.45(c)1,739Batu Belanak329784
Subi(Subi Islands)146.332,5773,064Subi829779
Serasan(West Serasan)44.994,5065,266Serasan829781
Serasan Timur(East Serasan)26.612,7313,202Arung Ayam429780
Totals1,978.1969,003 81,495Ranai77

Notes: (a) the 2010 population of the new Bunguran Batubi District is included in the figure for Bunguran Barat District, from which it was split off in 2014. (b) the 2010 population of the new Pulau Tiga Barat District is included in the figure for Pulau Tiga District, from which it was split off in 2014. (b) the 2010 population of the new Suak Midai District is included in the figure for Midai District, from which it was split off in 2014.

Maritime administration and Chinese claim

Indonesia's EEZ extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its shores (as per the 1982 UNCLOS), which, around Natuna, means it is slightly intersected by China's Nine-Dash Line, defining its widely disputed claim to most of the South China Sea. In 2014–2015, the presence of the Indonesian National Armed Forces on the islands was reinforced, which the Indonesian government hoped would reduce the chance of any conflict.[15] Then from late 2019, Chinese fishing vessels increased illegal activity within the EEZ, escorted by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel. Indonesia responded with a formal diplomatic protest to Beijing[28] and then deployed to the region a further 600 troops and eight navy warships, along with aerial support. The naval presence included Ahmad Yani-class frigates, Bung Tomo-class corvettes, and Kapitan Pattimura-class ASW corvettes, while aerial support came from Naval Aviation CN-235 MPA aircraft, four Indonesian Air Force F-16s and a Boeing 737-2x9, with BAE Hawk aircraft nearby on alert. A visit to the area by President Joko Widodo in early January 2020 reinforced Indonesia's resolve not to tolerate such incursions.[29]


Despite important natural gas reserves, most of the locals work as fishermen or farmers. There is no significant tourism industry. Farming is not on an industrial scale, just small holdings. The other main source of income is gained by people working for the government.


Religion in Natuna Regency (2017)[30]
religion percent
Roman Catholicism


According to the 2010 census returns (released in 2011), the population of the islands stood at 69,003 people. 85.27% of the inhabitants were Malays, with the remainder consisting of Javanese, Sumatrans and Chinese. By the 2020 census, this had grown to 81,495.


Islam is the dominant religion in the islands,[31] with 96.97% of the total population identify themselves as Muslim. Other religions are Christianity, which forms 1.66% of the total population, Buddhism, which forms 1.23% of the total population, and Confucianism, which forms 0.14% of the total population. The largest mosque is located in the north-east corner of the islands. The Masjid Agung Natuna was built over two years from 2007 to 2009, and is visited by at least 10,000 people every day.


Harbors and airports

The military harbour was headquartered on Teuku Umar for Navy ships tasked on the Natuna Sea.

Ranai-Natuna Airport is located at Ranai, the capital city of Natuna Regency. The airport is also a Type B airbase of the Indonesian Air Force.[32] Other than that, the airport also serves civilian flights. The airport also accommodates large military aircraft.[33] A new passenger terminal opened in October 2016, inaugurated by President Joko Widodo.[34][35]

The airport resides at an elevation of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 18/36 with an asphalt surface measuring 2,560 m x 32 m (8,399 ft × 105 ft). The runway is planned to be widened to 80 m in 2020. Moreover, the airport has an apron measuring 120 m x 60 m and a taxiway measuring 50 m x 32 m.[36]

The recently built terminal at the airport has an area of 3,868 m2, many times larger than the old terminal which only had an area of 243 m2. The new terminal can accommodate around 13,850 passengers daily.[35] The parking lot has been expanded to 5,020 m2 and can now cater to around 3,940 cars and 750 motorcycles. Other facilities inside the airport are the Aviation Accidents Rescue and Fire Fighting building, a generator and the pump house.

See also


  1. Mursitama, Tirta Nugraha; Yi, Ying; Abbas, Bahtiar Saleh (5 April 2021). Natuna: Selayang Pandang Wisata Bahari, Budaya, dan Kuliner. Yogyakarta, D.I.Y.: Andi. pp. 7–10. ISBN 9786230103322. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  2. Diana (12 October 2020). "Official Ceremony of 21st years of Regency of Natuna Islands' Anniversary on 2020". Regency of Natuna (in Indonesian). Government of Regency of Natuna Islands. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  3. "History of Regency of Bintan". Regency of Bintan (in Indonesian). Government of Bintan Regency. 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  4. "UU No. 31 Tahun 2003 tentang Pembentukan Kabupaten Lingga di Provinsi Kepulauan Riau [JDIH BPK RI]".
  5. Setiawan, Budiana (2020). "Nationalism: The Case of People in Natuna" (pdf). Jurnal Masyarakat & Budaya (in Indonesian). 22 (1): 44–45. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  6. "SKPT NATUNA". Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (in Indonesian). Sentra Kelautan dan Perikanan Terpadu. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  7. "Home Page". Natuna Regency. Government of Natuna Islands. 2021. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  8. "September 2020 Total of Population Result According to Districts and Gender". Statistics Indonesia (in Indonesian). Natuna Islands Regency Census Department. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  9. "Ini Plat Nomor Kendaaraan Kepulauan Riau Dan Daftar Kode Belakangnya". Auto Bild (in Indonesian). Auto Bild Indonesia. 10 September 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  10. "Human Development Index". Statistics Indonesia (in Indonesian). Natuna Islands Regency Census Department. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  11. Arman, Dedi; Swastiwi, Anastasia Wiwik (November 2018). Natuna: Potret Masyarakat dan Budayanya (PDF) (in Indonesian). Tanjungpinang: Balai Pelestarian Nilai Budaya Kepulauan Riau in Ministry of Education and Culture. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  12. Mohd Rusli, Mohd Hazmi; Talaat, Izatul Asma (15 February 2016). "The Natuna Islands: 'Malaysian in geography', Indonesian in sovereignty". Astro Awani. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  13. "Sector 1: Borneo—Northwest Coast and Kepulauan Tudjuh" (PDF). United States Government Publishing Office. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  14. Franchino, Aristide (1990). "Notes about the Natuna Islands". Archipel (in French). 39: 48–49.
  15. The sleepy island Indonesia is guarding from China, BBC News, Karishma Vaswani, 19 October 2014
  16. Suryadinata, Leo; Izzuddin, Mustafa (11 July 2017). "a Snapshot of the Natunas". The Natunas. Queenstown, SG: ISEAS. p. 8. doi:10.1355/9789814786331-005. ISBN 9789814786331. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  17. Winstedt, R.O. (December 1932). "A History of Johore (1365—1895 A.D.)". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 10 (3): 45. JSTOR 41560456. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  18. "Natuna Islands: Indonesia says no 'overlapping' South China Sea claims with China". ABC News.
  19. "South China Sea: Indonesia renames part of maritime economic zone in defiance of Beijing". ABC News.
  20. "Ecoregions 2017" interactive map. Resolve 2017
  21. "Natuna Islands bird checklist - Bird Checklists of the World". Avibase. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  22. Lammertink, Nijman, and Setiorini, 2003. Oryx 37(4):472-479
  23. Brandon-Jones et al. 2004. Asian Primate Classification. International Journal of Primatology 25(1):97-164.
  24. Lepage, Denis (2018). "Natuna Besar". Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  25. Martjan Lammertink, Vincent Nijman and Utami Setiorini, "Population size, Red List status and conservation of the Natuna leaf monkey Presbytis natunae endemic to the island of Bunguran, Indonesia." Oryx / Volume 37 / Issue 04 / October 2003, pp 472 – 479
  26. Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  27. Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  28. Indonesia issues protest to Beijing over Chinese vessel trespassing in Natuna, Jakarta Post, 31 December 2019
  29. Indonesia deploys warships, jets amid China spat, RTHK, 9 Jan 2020
  30. "Riau Islands Province in Figures 2017". BPS Kepulauan Riau. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  31. The Natuna Islands: Geographically Malaysian, politically Indonesian, 7 December 2013 (in Malay)
  32. "Kenaikan Tipe Lanud Natuna, untuk Jawab Tantangan • JakartaGreater". 13 January 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  33. COM, Serantau News dot. "Pesawat Tempur Mulai Disiagakan di Lanud Ranai". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  34. Presiden Jokowi Resmikan Terminal Bandara Ranai di Pulau Natuna
  35. "Jokowi Resmikan Terminal Bandara Ranai Natuna". Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  36. <asep.muhamad[at]>, Asep Muhamad. "Jelang Diresmikan Presiden, Menhub Cek Kesiapan Terminal Bandara Ranai Natuna". Retrieved 8 February 2017.

Further reading

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