Serranilla Bank

Travel Guide Caribbean Serranilla Bank



Serranilla Bank is a partially submerged reef, with small uninhabited islets, in the western Caribbean Sea. It is situated about 350 kilometres northeast of Punta Gorda, Nicaragua, and roughly 280 kilometres southwest of Jamaica. The closest neighbouring land feature is Bajo Nuevo Bank, located 110 kilometres to the east.

Serranilla Bank was first shown on Spanish maps in 1510. It is administered by Colombia as part of the department of San Andrés and Providencia. Although the bank is currently occupied by Colombia, it is subject to a sovereignty dispute involving Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States.




Serranilla Bank is a former atoll, now a mostly submerged carbonate platform consisting of shallow reef environments. It is about 40 kilometres in length and 32 kilometres in width, covering an area of over 1200 km2, almost entirely under water. Three small cays and two rocks emerge above the water to form the bank's islands. These are West Breaker, Middle Cay, East Cay, Beacon Cay and Northeast Breaker. They are largely barren, with sparse vegetation of bushes and some trees. Most of the reef is drying and many shipwrecks are located in its vicinity.

Beacon Cay is the largest islet in the Bank. It is overbuilt with small military facilities, which house a small rotating garrison of Colombian naval personnel. There is a lighthouse on a coral ledge in the southwest approach to the bank. It is a 33 metre tall skeletal tower built atop a 3-storey crew residence. The lamp emits a focal plane beam of light as two white flashes every 20 seconds. The current lighthouse was first erected in 1982,and was reconstructed in May 2008 by the Colombian Ministry of Defence. It is currently maintained by the Colombian Navy, and overseen by the state's Maritime Authority.


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This is version 1. Last edited at 11:49 on Jan 23, 15 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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