Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 6 News List

North Sea's Principality of Sealand is put up for sale

AFP , LONDON

A former World War II fort in the North Sea, which was settled 40 years ago and declared a state with its own self-proclaimed royal family, is up for sale, the Times said yesterday.

The tiny Principality of Sealand, which began life as Roughs Tower in 1941, is a 550m2 steel platform perched on two concrete towers 11km off the coast of Harwich, eastern England.

It is accessible only by boat and helicopter but according to its owners, who want offers of eight digits or over, boasts uninterrupted sea views, guarantees complete privacy and is a tax haven.

"We have owned the island for 40 years now and my father is 85," Prince Michael of Sealand was quoted as saying. "Perhaps it is time for some rejuvenation. Astronomical figures have been mentioned but we will just see what comes forward."

Although its nation status is disputed, Sealand boasts a military past like any other country, defending its sovereignty from outside threats.

Former British army major Paddy Roy Bates began occupying the island with his family in 1967, declaring it a state in international waters and himself a prince.

Britain's Royal Navy attempted to evict him the following year but were unsuccessful. A judge then ruled in his favor that Sealand was outside British government control as it was beyond the 5km limit of the country's waters.

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