Sealand - a sovereign state?

SUPPORTERS of independent mini-state Sealand off the Suffolk coast are being urged to sign an on-line petition asking the Prime Minister to recognise the country's sovereignty.

SUPPORTERS of independent mini-state Sealand off the Suffolk coast are being urged to sign an on-line petition asking the Prime Minister to recognise the country's sovereignty.

But so far just 33 people have signed the petition on the Ten Downing Street website - even though 160,000 people are said to own Sealand passports.

The petition has been posted by Francis Warrick and it is understood not to have been sanctioned by the government of the principality, which already claims to be a sovereign nation and has not sought recognition from the British government in the 40 years since it was set up.

Mr Warrick said: “Sealand should be officially recognised because it is a real nation, and has been since Roy Bates and his associates occupied Roughs Tower in 1967.”


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He said at that time the fort was in international waters and so was in a position outside the control of the UK, but had been inside UK territorial waters since they were expanded to 12 miles in the 1970s.

The UK government does not recognise Sealand as an independent state, and ministers believe no other country does either.

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Geographer and author Matt Rosenberg, who has carried out extensive research into Sealand, said there were eight criteria for deciding if a place was an independent country or not, and Sealand failed six of the tests with two “qualified affirmatives”.

It has no land or boundaries and is simply a former world war two anti-aircraft platform standing above the sea, its residents are only temporary - a member of the Bates family and staff from internet company HavenCo who pay to keep their servers on the fort - and has little economic activity with its money and stamps of interest to collectors only.

It has no transport system, and while Mr Rosenberg concedes Sealand has a government, its defence forces could quite easily be overcome, and it does not have sovereignty because it stands in UK waters and is not recognised by other states.

“I think we can safely say that the Principality of Sealand is no more a country than my own backyard,” he said.

The right to rule Sealand, this year celebrating its 40th anniversary, is currently up for sale for more than £65 million.

Major Bates and his family looking to “transfer” their tenancy to someone else, although they would still keep ownership.

Would you like to live on Sealand? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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