The so-called Principality of Sealand, seven miles off the coast of Felixstowe and Harwich, was evacuated at lunchtime yesterdayafter a generator caught fire. Thames Coastguard, Harwich RNLI lifeboat, Felixstowe Coastguard rescue teams, firefighting tug Brightwell, the RAF rescue helicopter from Wattisham and 15 Suffolk based firefighters from the National Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) were all called into action to tackle the blaze.
One man, believed to be a security guard, was airlifted from the scene and taken to Ipswich Hospital with smoke inhalation but no one else was on the Second World War gun emplacement.
There have been at least seven attempts by raiders to try to seize it from the Bates family with petrol bombs, shotguns and hand-to-hand fighting.
Reader comment: Bob Brinkman asks,
If Sealand was completely evacuated, hasn't it ceased to be a nation? My understanding is that nations MUST have a permanent population. If the sole occupant of Sealand was evacuated, Sealand ceased to be a nation. If that is the case, and Sealand now resides in British territorial waters, all thoughts of regaining sovereignty are most likely gone.
Robert de Bath says,
Sealand's status will not change because of this. The UK Gov doesn't see them as an independent nation anyway, and would therefore not 'claim' Sealand as part of the UK because they are already seen to be. They can get away with things because they are inaccessable but really all it means is that they don't have any busybody neighbours; they often go into town, like the rest of us, and can expect a knock through the door if the police would really like a chat.