About Timor Sea, facts and maps

Timor Sea, arm of the Indian Ocean, lying southeast of the island of Timor, Indonesia, and northwest of Australia. Located at latitude 10° S and influenced alternately by the southeast trade winds and the monsoon belt, the area is well known for generating typhoons.

The Timor Sea was the location for Australia’s largest oil spill when the Montara oil field leaked oil, natural gas and condensate from 21 August to 3 November 2009. During the spill 400 barrels (64 m3) of oil leaked each day. East Timor is enclosed on the south by the rough waters of the Timor Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) and on the north by the calmer Banda Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

The Timor Sea (Indonesian: Laut Timor, Portuguese: Mar de Timor, Tetum: Tasi Mane or Tasi Timór) is a relatively shallow sea bounded to the north by the island of Timor, to the east by the Arafura Sea, and to the south by Australia.

The sea contains a number of reefs, uninhabited islands and significant hydrocarbon reserves. International disputes emerged after the reserves were discovered resulting in the signing of the Timor Sea Treaty.

The Timor Sea was hit by the worst oil spill for 25 years in 2009. It is possible that Australia’s first inhabitants crossed the Timor Sea from the Malay Archipelago at a time when sea levels were lower.

The waters to the east are known as the Arafura Sea. The Timor Sea is adjacent to three substantial inlets on the north Australian coast, the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Beagle Gulf and the Van Diemen Gulf. The Australian city of Darwin which is located in part on the shore of the Beagle Gulf, is the nearest large city to the sea. The small town of Wyndham is located on the west arm of Cambridge Gulf, an inlet of Joseph Bonaparte Gulf.

Rivers that enter the Timor Sea from the Northern Territory include Fish River, King River, Dry River, Victoria River and the Alligator Rivers. Rivers in the Kimberley region that flow into the Timor Sea include the Ord River, Forrest River, Pentecost River and Durack River.

The sea is about 480 km (300 mi) wide, covering an area of about 610 thousand km2 (240,000 sq mi). Its deepest point is the Timor Trough (which some geologists consider is the south-eastern extension of the Java Trench, but others view as a foreland trough to the Timor Island “mountain range”), located in the northern part of the sea, which reaches a depth of 3,300 m (10,800 ft). The remainder of the sea is much shallower, much of it averaging less than 200 m (660 ft) deep, as it overlies the Sahul Shelf, part of the Australian continental shelf.

The Big Bank Shoals is an area on the sloping seabed between the continental shelf and the Timor Trough where a number of submerged banks are located. The ecosystem of the shoals differs significantly from the deeper waters surrounding them. In May 2010, it was announced that a crater about 50 km (31 mi) wide has been discovered on the seabed of the Timor Sea.

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) defines the Timor Sea as being one of the waters of the East Indian Archipelago. The IHO defines its limits as follows:

On the North The Southeastern limit of the Savu Sea [By a line from the Southwest point of Timor to the Northeast point of Roti, through this island to its Southwest point] the Southeastern coast of Timor and the Southern limit of the Banda Sea [A line from Tanjong Aro Oesoe, through Sermata to Tanjong Njadora the Southeast point of Lakov (8°16′S 128°14′E) along the South coasts of Lakov, Moa and Leti Islands to Tanjong Toet Pateh, the West point of Leti, thence a line to Tanjong Sewirawa the Eastern extremity of Timor].

On the East. The Western [limit] of the Arafura Sea [A line from Cape Don to Tanjong Aro Oesoe, the Southern point of Selaroe (Tanimbar Islands)].

On the South. The North coast of Australia from Cape Don to Cape Londonderry (13°47′S 126°55′E).

On the West. A line from Cape Londonderry to the Southwest point of Roti Island (10°56′S 122°48′E).

Timor Sea Treaty
The Timor Sea Treaty, which was signed on the 20 May 2002, led to the establishment of the Timor Sea Designated Authority (TSDA). This organisation is responsible for the administration of all petroleum-related activities in a part of the Timor Sea known as the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA). The treaty was ratified in February 2007.

Under the terms of the treaty, royalties on petroleum production in the JPDA are split in a 90:10 ratio between East Timor and Australia. It has been criticised because the treaty did not finalise the maritime boundary between East Timor and Australia.

2018 Maritime Boundaries Treaty
The Australia–Timor Leste Treaty Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea was signed on 6 March 2018 at United Nations headquarters in New York in the presence of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Is Timor its own country?

The United States recognized Timor-Leste, then known as East Timor, on May 20, 2002, when it achieved formal independence. Before this time, the region had been a Portuguese colony up until 1975 and was under Indonesian sovereignty from 1976 to 1999. The Island of Timor is currently divided in two parts: the West is part of the Republic of Indonesia with provincial capital in Kupang; while the East, whose capital is Dili since its independence, had been a Portuguese territory since the 16th century.

Are there sharks in the Timor Sea?

Points of interest. Large giant clam (~1 meter), black tipped reef sharks, turtles.

Is East Timor Islamic?

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The majority of the population of East Timor is Christian, and the Catholic Church is the dominant religious institution, although it is not formally the state religion. There are also small Protestant and Sunni Muslim communities.

Is Timor a rich country?

Timor-Leste remains one of the poorest countries in East Asia and is heavily dependent on foreign aid. Economic liberalization has largely stalled. Oil and gas account for more than 95 percent of government revenue, which is consigned to a Petroleum Fund that had assets of $19.5 billion at the end of June 2021.

Is Timor a poor country?

The world’s newest nation – East Timor – is also Asia’s poorest, according to a new report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The world’s newest nation – East Timor – is also Asia’s poorest, according to a new report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

What is the most violent sea in the world?

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Sailing through the Indian Ocean has come to be a challenging task owing to its characteristic of being one of the most deadly ocean waters in the world.

What is the deadliest ocean in the world?

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The South China Sea and East Indies, eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, North Sea, and British Isles are the most dangerous seas in the world, with the greatest number of shipping accidents in the last 15 years, according to a report released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Which is the roughest sea in the world?

From the tip of the South American continent to the northernmost shores of Antarctica: here’s where you’ll find the reputed roughest sea-passage in the world.

Is Timor safe to travel?

Crime risks increase at night, and if you’re travelling alone. Smash-and-grab property theft from vehicles happens. Intruders have broken into homes where foreigners are known to be. There is a history of gang-related violence, robbery, arson and vandalism in major towns, especially Dili.

Which country controlled Timor?

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The British governed the island in 1812–15. The Dutch and the Portuguese fought for supremacy over Timor, and Portuguese sovereignty over the island’s eastern half was settled by treaties in 1860 and 1893, although the latter became effective only in 1914. Japanese forces occupied Timor during World War II.

Why is Timor called Timor-Leste?

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Etymology. “Timor” is derived from timur, meaning ‘east’ in Malay, thus resulting in a tautological place name meaning ‘East East’. In Indonesian, this results in the name Timor Timur. In Portuguese, the country is called Timor-Leste (Leste meaning ‘east’; Portuguese pronunciation: [ti’moɾ ‘lɛʃ.tɨ]).

Beneath the Timor Sea lie considerable reserves of oil and gas. Confirmation of the prospectivity of the Timor Sea came when Woodside-Burmah’s Big John rig drilled Troubadour No. 1 well in June 1974 on the Troubadour Shoals about 200 kilometres (120 mi) southeast of Timor, and intersected 83 metres (272 ft) of hydrocarbons. A number of offshore petroleum projects are in operation and there is considerable exploration activity either underway and numerous proposed projects. A gas pipeline crosses the Timor Sea from the Joint Petroleum Development Area to Wickham Point near Darwin.

The Timor Sea was the location for Australia’s largest oil spill when the Montara oil field leaked oil, natural gas and condensate from 21 August to 3 November 2009. During the spill 400 barrels (64 m3) of oil leaked each day. The Montara Commission of Inquiry placed blame on the Thai company PTTEP, owner of the wells.