£65m price tag for Sealand tenancy

INDEPENDENT mini-state Sealand could be handed over to new “rulers” - if they are prepared to cough up the asking price of more than £65million.

INDEPENDENT mini-state Sealand could be handed over to new “rulers” - if they are prepared to cough up the asking price of more than £65million.

It's a chance for someone to have their own island home off the Suffolk coast, a real getaway from it all - with just the passing ships and seabirds for company.

One of the world's smallest countries, the 550 sq m principality, which is seven miles off Felixstowe, is this year celebrating its 40th anniversary and currently undergoing major refurbishment work following a fire last summer.

It has been ruled for the past four decades by Major Roy Bates, now 85, and his family but they are looking to “transfer” tenancy to someone else, although they would still keep ownership.

Spanish estate agency Inmonaranja, which is handling the sale, said the new tenants of Sealand would not be able to change the name of the country and would have to run it the same.

Gabriel Medina, chairman of the company, said the firm was constantly being asked by clients if they could buy an island or even a small country. A nine-figure Euro sum was being sought for the privilege of being tenants of Sealand.

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He said: “The transfer of Sealand will be conditioned by the previous official status of autonomy of the 'Principality of Sealand' and without agreement to that the transfer will not take place.

“Now whoever comes to ask us if they can create their own country, we will be able to offer them the closest concept that exists - Sealand.”

The former war-time fort is always occupied by some Sealanders or members of the country's security service, and also an internet company which uses it as a base for its servers.

There has been speculation for several years about whether the Bates family might one day sell it but they have insisted Sealand is a sovereign country and not up for sale.

Prince Regent, Prince Michael of Sealand said the aim of finding tenants was to generate some money to invest in Sealand.

He said: “You cannot sell sovereignty so we will still own Sealand and be its royal family but this is a chance for someone to live there and run Sealand on a day to day basis, though they would have to agree to the country's laws and constitution.

“We have had this idea in the past and we spoke to this estate agency which deals in islands and thought let's give it a go and see what happens.”

Repairs costing between £250,000 and £500,000 have been carried out since the fire last June, which was caused when a generator exploded.