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Fact Sheet

Cruise Handling

SURINAME, South America, yet an integral part of the Caribbean Community

SURINAME – Paramaribo

Status:          Independent parliamentary Republic

Area:              163.820 km² (64,000 sq. miles), coast line 386 km (240 miles) long

Population:  500,000 approx.

Port:              Paramaribo is the capital city, main district and port of entry from the Atlantic

Languages: Dutch, English, Surinamese Creole, African-, Asian- and Indigenous languages

Currency:     Surinamese Dollar (1 SRD = 0.30 USD or 0.225 EUR approx.)

Time zone:   GMT -4

Climate:        Hot (year-round about 30º C/85º F), tropical and humid, with occasional showers

Suriname, also known as former Dutch-Guyana, the smallest sovereign state in South America (about the size of England and Wales or Western Germany) located on the northeast coast, north bordered by Brazil to the south, Guyana to the west and French Guyana to the east.

Its name is derived from the ‘Surinen’, an Indian tribe that once lived in the area. The country became independent on November 25, 1975, after more than 3 centuries of rule by the Dutch, who exchanged the country with the British in 1667 for New Amsterdam (now: Manhattan, NYC).

Suriname is one of the greenest countries on earth (with more than 80% covered by primary rainforest) and one of the least densely populated tropical countries in the world. Approximately 90% of the 500,000 inhabitants live in and around the capital, Paramaribo, and in small towns and villages dotted along the coast and riverbanks.

Suriname is the most culturally diverse country of the region, with a population consisting of Indigenous, Creole, Indian, Javanese, Chinese, Maroon, Lebanese, Dutch and other European ethnic groups. The official language is Dutch, but (like in the Netherlands) almost everyone in Surinam speaks at least some English. There is a Surinamese Creole language too called ‘Sranang Tongo’, a fascinating melting pot of different tongues and dialects.

Paramaribo, the capital, also known as “the Wooden City”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflects the exotic mix of races, colors and cultures in Suriname. Historical buildings and tree-lined avenues echo successive Dutch, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese rule.

While the remains of one of the first synagogues in the Western Hemisphere, built between 1665 and 1671 are at Joden savannah, located at the other side of the Suriname River, Paramaribo is actually one of the few places in the world where Muslim mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues and Christian churches coexist peacefully side by side.

Suriname is also home to the world’s largest Maroon population (descendents of African slaves). The interior of the country boasts many nature reserves, cited for its unspoiled biodiversity, including the Central Surinam Nature Reserve, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with more than 1.6 million hectares of primary tropical rainforest (until recently the biggest in the Amazon).

In summary, Suriname offers a unique cultural experience through its heritage that is kept alive by a potpourri of its population groups of Indigenous, European, African and Asian & Middle-Eastern origin, their languages, different cuisines, religions and music, which will leave a lasting imprint and impression on any visitor.



The bulk of ship’s traffic in Suriname enters and clears the Suriname River, which provides passage to Paramaribo, the capital city and main port. Paramaribo is situated on the left bank of the Suriname River, some 12 miles from the river mouth. The Suriname River is navigable for oceangoing vessels up to the port of Paranam (42 miles from entrance).

Maximum air draught is 43 meters to permit passage under the bridge across the river, just south of Paramaribo, and only 300 meters south of the port.

The sea buoy (red/white vertically striped) is the pick up point for vessels, and is located about 28 NM from the port at N06°05’00” W055°12’51”, and its character is MOA, 8 sec, 8M, 8 miles.

On position N05°53’31.6” W055°13’00” there is a mast (112meters) with a rotating white light at the top providing a 2.5 sec. flash visible to ships at a distance of 30 miles.

The minimum depth over the outer bar at LWS is 46 dm (15’01”) plus the rise of the tide (averages from 27 dm (9’) at spring tide to 20 dm (6’) at neap tide). The bottom of the outer bar is soft mud. Pilots only guide vessels at high tide.


VHF channels 12 and 16 are used for contact between the vessel and the pilot station, the agent can also be contacted either via email or VHF.

Dock Facilities

The principal wharf at Paramaribo is the New Harbor, and is managed by Havenbeheer N.V., a government corporation. The concrete pier is 520 meters long, and approximate depth at LWS varies from 20 feet (north) to 15 feet (south). At Paranam vessels can also remain at anchorage or go along side a small (approximately 100 meter) terminal, where garbage, water, and bunkers can be arranged.


Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels over 50 Tons Gross. The pilot at the Sea Buoy will board incoming vessels. Vessels are required to provide a ladder.

Fresh Water – Stores – Repairs – Bunkers

Are all available upon request through the Agent. Advance notice must be given for purposes of efficiency. Local tropical fruits and vegetables are of excellent quality and are most times readily available. Water is available at the port in Suriname. The water pressure is approximately 8-12 ton per hour.

Suriname is located on the North Coast of South America, between the Caribbean and Brazil.
Paramaribo aerial view towards the Suriname river that leads to the Atlantic coast