Massive repair bill for Sealand owners

A FIERCE blaze which ripped through the former wartime fort Sealand has left a damage bill which could reach £100,000 and will not be covered by insurance.

A FIERCE blaze which ripped through the former wartime fort Sealand has left a damage bill which could reach £500,000 and will not be covered by insurance.

The Second World War gun emplacement off Felixstowe, declared an independent principality in 1967, suffered extensive damage after the fire took hold on Friday.

A downhearted Michael Bates, known as the “Prince of Sealand”, today revealed the fort was not insured to cover damage by fire, leaving his family with a massive repair bill.

He added the fort, which leases offices to IT firm HavenCo Ltd, faces a tough future because it has no insurance policy for the damage.

“It needs an awful lot of repairs,” Mr Bates said.

“The generator is destroyed and three of the rooms, the generator room, the radio shed and the living room, have been completely destroyed.

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“We are starting to clean it up now. The water damage from the firefighting is a real problem as well.”

Mr Bates had been in Spain when the fire broke out on Friday and flew back at the weekend to assess the damage.

After inspecting the wreckage of what was the fort's generator room with his son's James, 19, and Liam, 17, he described the situation as a “nightmare”.

During the fire a thick plume of smoke could be seen from Felixstowe while witnesses on the cliff tops reported seeing flames coming from the sea fort's left tower.

One man, a watchman on the fort, suffered burns in the drama and was airlifted to Ipswich Hospital for treatment.

Sealand was built to defend England against German air raids in the Second World War. It was designed to house troops who could man artillery to shoot down German aircraft.

It was taken over by Michael Bates' father, Major Roy Bates, who declared it an independent principality in the 1960s.

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