Keraman today

Today Keraman belongs to Malaysia, it is located in the “Labuan Marine Park”. Mompracem can be reached in about 20 minutes by motorboat from Labuan City, but this passage by boat is nowatime very difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, Keraman is no tourist point anymore - like 20 years ago. You could try to get a chalet on the neighbouring island Rusukan Besar - maybe you can take a trip to the neighboring island from here.

I have now been to this island three times, the first time with my parents in 1998, the second time with my boyfriend in 2000, and then once more in 2019. The first time the tourist facilities were still intact. You could spend the night on a platform here in a very adventurous way, do water sports during the day or dive for the famous wrecks that lie near Mompracem. And no, these are not ships sunk by Sandokan, but rather modern wrecks. The "Cement Wreck", the "MV Tung Hwang" for example, sank to a depth of 30 meters east of Mompracem in the 1980s when it was laden with cement on its way to Brunei.

From the once very good facilities of the "Kuraman Resort" there was still a restaurant in 2000. The island was still inhabited, but these are fishermen from the Philippines. They were very nice und served us french fries.

In 2019 the island was empty, except the staff who guarded the lighthouse. That is a pity, because in the meantime - after 2000 - a new pier has been built and a lot more facilities, all is now deserted. The sand tongue is overcrowded with rubbish.

Keraman has beautiful beaches, especially the sand tongue at the eastern end invites you to dream. If you feel like it, you can try to look out for the big foot fowl or their mounds (I suspect they have left the island too, but the mounds are still visible), hike through the jungle to the lighthouse that the British built in 1897 at the highest point on the island, or to that bay in the north from which you can visit the Salgari - Memorial stone, which was erected in 1971. My father Horst Gerlich rediscovered that stone in 1998. When we were there, we climbed on a wrecked tanker, which has disappeared in 2000. In 2019, I could see the rest of this wreck in the water, it looked like an iron grating under the water surface - and immediately I knew how to get to the famous Salgari stone from that point. So I found again this stone which was there and a little bit damaged in comparison to 1998/2000.

Some "modern" history of that island:

In 2004 a group of emigrants from Brunei declared the island independent - they claimed that this island should actually belong to Brunei. The group wanted to develop the island for tourism, build a clubhouse for divers and had even designed a flag for their island, but as nobody took these efforts seriously, nothing came of it.

The interesting thing about this story is actually the question of who this island belongs to. If you look at these three smaller islands in connection with Labuan and the other smaller islands around Labuan, then according to official history this island complex used to belong to Brunei until this sultanate - although under duress - ceded the island to the British. But since Syarif Osman von Marudu was also interested in Labuan (or even had a legitimate claim?), It is unclear to whom Labuan belonged at the time, i.e. before 1845 and the fall of Marudu: either Brunei or actually to Marudu, and then the flag of Keraman (Mompracem!) would indeed have been the tiger flag.

Location of the three islands of Keraman (Kuraman), Small and Large Rusukan, which make up the Labuan Marine Park. You can also see the location of the wrecks here.