The Independant State of Sealand

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Barrack Room Lawyer, Dec 30, 2008.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Sealand Story

    Darkest hour for 'smallest state'

    By Dan Bell
    BBC News

    Access to the platform is only possible by helicopter or boat
    For 30 years an eccentric ex-Army major's claims that a gun platform off the Essex coast is an independent state have been ignored by the government.

    But documents just declassified by the National Archives show that at one time the "world's smallest state" was such an embarrassment officials wanted to bomb it into the sea.

    To the British government Roy Bates must have seemed like an insolent child sticking two fingers up from just out of reach behind a garden wall.

    In 1967 the former Army major took over a World War II fortress seven miles off the Essex coast and declared it an independent state, with himself as monarch.

    Standing just outside British waters (which until 1987 only stretched to three miles), the government was powerless to remove him, and there he stayed for nearly 40 years.

    Mr Bates and his 'Principality of Sealand' came to be treated with the special indulgence reserved for English eccentrics; but just declassified documents show that at one time the peculiar story was close to taking an altogether darker turn.


    The papers reveal a diplomatic row with Germany and Foreign Office officials, who were so incensed that they called for the Navy to knock the 10,000 sq ft platform into the sea.

    The trouble began in August 1978 when two Germans and a Dutchman landed by helicopter on the platform, overpowered Mr Bates's son, and laid claim to the "principality".

    The victory was short-lived. Soon afterwards the major staged a "counter-coup", freed his son and took the Dutchman and one of the Germans hostage.

    It was not long before the Dutch and German embassies contacted the Foreign Office, asking when their citizens would be released from British captivity.

    The German Embassy wrote stiffly: "The German national Gernot Ernst Putz is being held prisoner by members of a so-called 'Principality of Sealand' on the former anti-aircraft fort 'Roughs Tower', off Harwich.

    "Therefore, the imprisonment of Putz is in a way an act of piracy, committed on the high sea but still in front of British territory by British citizens."

    The trouble was that as Sealand lay outside British jurisdiction there was nothing the Foreign Office could do.

    The embarrassment of being powerless to control the antics taking place on a concrete stack within sight of the British coastline was, it seems, the last straw.

    'Strident' and 'petulant'

    In a classified internal letter following the Dutch entreaties, a Foreign Office official wrote: "Could you, therefore, please discuss the approach from the Dutch embassy with the Whitehall departments concerned, and let me know what reply I can give to Mr Schaapveld?

    "Is there any chance of a British patrol vessel 'passing by' the Fort and somehow knocking it into the sea?"

    Before he could receive a reply, the Dutch hostage was released. But it appears this latest humiliation was a step too far and the official felt Mr Bates had to be dealt with once and for all.

    He wrote: "Mr Schaapveld said he did not know whether the German… had also been released. Assuming that he has, then we can consider the problems of Sealand in somewhat slower time.

    "But no doubt the same sort of problem might be thrown up at any moment until the British government feels itself able to take some effective action over its property in the North Sea."

    As it turned out the German hostage had not been released. Instead the Foreign Office received further "strident" and "petulant" demands from the German embassy.

    It was not long until the man was set free, but by now the Sealand question had gained its own momentum and the issue was raised as a parliamentary question in the House of Lords.

    Lord Kennet asked: "My Lords, is it not the case that the British national on this tower has been reported in the press as having taken actions which, if they had been committed in a place where there was jurisdiction, would have been crimes, but that as there is no jurisdiction on this tower no action has been taken to restrain him from capturing or kidnapping people and holding them to ransom?"

    Lord Goronwy-Roberts replied: "My Lords, I think that the noble Lord puts the position fairly."

    Lord Hailsham of Saint Mary-Lebone said: "Quite seriously, my Lords, is not such an instillation a danger to navigation and, so many years after the war, is it not time that it was sunk or demolished in some other way?"

    Lord Goronwy-Roberts said all options were being considered, including demolition.

    The National Archives file holds a final letter from a Foreign Office official noting that the MoD had a plan for re-capturing the tower "if, and when, it became apparent that the Bates family were no longer in residence".

    The official asks "whether the MoD is still ready to take action if required and also what sort of action would be taken".

    There is no reply contained in the file, but Sealand was not demolished by the Navy and is still standing, still occupied and still unrecognised by the government.

    In 2007 the Bates family put "their" nation up for sale. A Spanish estate agents specialising in selling islands gave it a price tag of £504m.

    Official Sealand Website

    Dont let "Baron" Jim see this: Become a Lord or Lady of Sealand

    Fantastic, Im up for moving there!
  2. They have quite an industry too. The South piller (IIRC) has various online servers for gambling... Sealand has no laws agasnst it :D

    There is various other bits and bobs, and they have their own currency... pegged to the $US.

    IIRC the three taht "invaded" merely saw the potential of a personal tax haven and wanted in. I am pretty sure the Germans actually recognise teh state, because they dealt directly with the state for the realease of the prisoners.

    Can´t remember about Holland.

    UK also recognises the state, as they were the first to have to recognise differing laws. A firearms offence had to be annulled in court when it was pointed out hat Sealand is sofar out.

    It must be crumbleing now though. It was built as an AA Gun platform in the 40´s FFS. It has stood in the water for nigh 70 years. It is essentially an oil rig.
  3. Sounds like a better place to live than the 'dump' that Bliar and Brown have turned this country into.
  4. mercurydancer

    mercurydancer LE Book Reviewer

    Its also on sale for 504 MILLION quids!
  5. sorry, but we built the place I can't believe its not under our soverignty. Maybe it should be knocked down.
    Anyway, quite fancy a lordship actually, it would go with the large estate on IO that I bought for my dad a few years ago.

  6. LOL! I was researching such platforms a couple years ago (out of curiosity as to their effectiveness and all that) and came across a wealth of data about "Sealand." Apparently the structure is indeed in very bad repair and potentially hazardous but hey, it keeps one family of fruit loops away from the UK so that's a good thing, right? ;)
  7. The UK do not recognise Sealand as an independant state!

    Its run by a self proclaimed prince ffs!!!

  8. Stand to be corrected on this but I'm fairly certain that at one point the Bates family had their own 'armed forces' on Sealand (Ex UK SF) who, among other minor dramas handed an RM landing party their arses on a plate during one of the periods of friction with UK Gov.

    It's currently a large off-shore net server and data storage centre AFAIK
  9. I seem to remember Sealand issung their own Diplomatic Passports as well, for a suitable fee.
  10. Think I understand your point, but.........

    'We' built the Cathedral in Bombay; most of New Delhi; bits of this and that all over the world, but..................

    I say good luck to Sealand and all who live there.

    Happy New Year all.
  11. Think I understand your point, but.........

    'We' built the Cathedral in Bombay; most of New Delhi; bits of this and that all over the world, but..................

    I say good luck to Sealand and all who live there.

    Happy New Year all.
  12. I would have thought a Colonial like yourself would welcome such an independent kind of guy. Stubbing his nose to the man.

    And shooting at interlopers.

    Trotsky, what is there to think about. Yes, the tower should have been knocked down with the others. But it wasn´t.

    It was indeed outside of territorial waters and has been declared a country of it´s own.

    All very legal and above board.

    Roy just didn´t miss the trick that is all.