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Celebes Sea

The Celebes Sea (Malay: Laut Sulawesi)) of the western Pacific Ocean is bordered on the north by the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea and Mindanao Island of the Philippines, on the east by the Sangihe Islands chain, on the south by Sulawesi, and on the west by Kalimantan in Indonesia . The Sea is in the form of a huge basin, and plunges as deep as 20,300 feet (6,200 m). It extends 420 miles (675 km) north-south by 520 miles (837 km) east-west and has a total surface area of 110,000 square miles (280,000 km²). The sea opens southwest through the Makassar Strait into the Java Sea.

The Celebes Sea is a piece of an ancient ocean basin that formed 42 million years ago in a setting far from any land mass. By 20 million years ago, crustal movement had pushed the Celebes basin close enough to the Indonesian and Philippine volcanoes to receive volcanic debris. By 10 million years ago the Celebes Sea was inundated with continental debris, including coal, which was shed from a rapidly growing young mountain on Borneo and the basin had docked against Eurasia.

The border between the Celebes and the Sulu Sea is at the Sibutu-Basilan Ridge. Strong ocean currents, deep sea trenches and seamounts, combined with active volcanic islands, result in complex oceanographic features.

Contents

Extent

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) defines the Celebes Sea as being one of the waters of the East Indian Archipelago. The IHO defines its limits as follows:[1]

On the North. The Southern limit of Sulu Sea [From Tagolo Point, down the West coast of Mindanao to the Southwest extremity thence to the North coast of Basilan Island (6°45′N 122°04′E / 6.75°N 122.067°E / 6.75; 122.067), through this island to its Southern extremity, thence a line to Bitinan Island (6°04′N 121°27′E / 6.067°N 121.45°E / 6.067; 121.45) off the Eastern end of Jolo Island, through Jolo to a point in long. 121°04'E on its South coast, thence through Tapul and Lugus Islands and along the North coast of Tawitawi Island to Bongao Island off its Western end (5°01′N 119°45′E / 5.017°N 119.75°E / 5.017; 119.75), and from thence to Tanjong Labian, the Northeastern extreme of Borneo] and the Southwest coast of Mindanao.

On the East. A line from Tanjong Tinaka, the Southern point of Mindanao, to the North point of Sangi (3°45′N 125°26′E / 3.75°N 125.433°E / 3.75; 125.433) thence through the Sangi Islands to Tanjong Poeisan, the Northeast extreme of Celebes [Sulawesi].

On the South. The North coast of Celebes between Tanjong Poeisan and Stroomenkaap (Cape Rivers) (1°20′N 120°52′E / 1.333°N 120.867°E / 1.333; 120.867) and thence a line to Tanjong Mangkalihat in Borneo, the Northern limit of Makassar Strait [a line joining Tanjong Mangkalihat, Borneo (1°02′N 118°57′E / 1.033°N 118.95°E / 1.033; 118.95) and Stroomen Kaap (Cape Rivers), Celebes (1°20′N 120°52′E / 1.333°N 120.867°E / 1.333; 120.867)].

On the West. The East coast of Borneo between Tanjong Mangkalihat and Tanjong Labian, the Southern limit of the Sulu Sea.

Celebes Sea pirates

The Celebes Sea has somewhat attained an international notoriety for its pirates who prey not only on small time fishermen but also giant container ships. Nowadays, these pirates have high-tech weapons and equipment like radar and GPS navigation devices and ride on high-speed motorboats.

Celebes Sea on its northern border. Coastal area of Maitum, Sarangani

Marine life

The Celebes Sea is home to a wide variety of fish and aquatic creatures. The tropical setting and warm clear waters permit it to harbor about 580 of the world's 793 species of reef-building corals, which grow as some of the most bio-diverse coral reefs in the world, and an impressive array of marine life, including whales and dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays, eagle rays, barracuda, marlin and other reef and pelagic species. Tuna and yellowfin tuna are also abundant.

In addition to high abundance of fish caught in the Celebes sea, this sea also yields other aquatic products like sea tang.

Commercial significance

An important transport route for trade and commerce in the region. It is a popular site for deep sea diving and luxury ocean cruising.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. http://www.iho.shom.fr/publicat/free/files/S23_1953.pdf. Retrieved 22 December 2009.  

Coordinates: 3°34′23″N 121°57′44″E / 3.57306°N 121.96222°E / 3.57306; 121.96222

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