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The Almighty Buck

Sealand Put Up For Sale 290

antic writes "The Principality of Sealand is up for sale. The 550 square meter steel platform boasts "uninterrupted sea views", complete privacy and has been mentioned on Slashdot in the past for its offers of hosting outside the jurisdiction of (some) traditional laws."
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Sealand Put Up For Sale

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  • by Vengeance ( 46019 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:38AM (#17507258)
    Then I could hunt the most dangerous game of all...
  • by celardore ( 844933 ) * on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:38AM (#17507260)
    You should know that the commute is a bitch.
    • I should also add (Score:5, Informative)

      by celardore ( 844933 ) * on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:42AM (#17507298)
      It's not actually for sale, the owners are just offering a tenancy. [] Which makes it not such a sweet deal.
      • Re:I should also add (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:45AM (#17508756) Homepage

        Yeah, but if they're not living there, and you are, you can just declare a coup and that you are now president-for-life, then fight them off when they attempt to come back. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to smuggle weapons onto the platform, considering there's probably not even room for a port authority.

        Considering the traditional way of determining the actual 'government' is 'who is in physical control of the country', you are now the ruler of Sealand. They are the 'government in exile'.

        • Coup de Nowhere (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @02:56PM (#17511774) Homepage Journal

          Well, the Principality Army could stay on site to prevent a coup. What? There is no army? Well then, the citizens can form a militia... You say there are no citizens either? So what does "Prince" Michael rule over?

          This notion that an abandoned radar platform has somehow achieved sovereign nation status just because its squatters say it is has always been a bad joke. They've only gotten away with it because nobody gives a shit. They claim to have a legal decision, but what they really have is a court case the the UK crown won't appeal out of bureaucratic inertia. The very first time they'd done something to really piss people off, a platoon of Scotland Yard bobbies would have landed, sent the "Prince" back to his sheep, and that would have been the end of it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by blowdog ( 993153 )
        Sealand say they are a separate country so which legal system is the tenancy agreement written and what court are they going to take you to if you break it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Yonzie ( 516292 )
        Which would be pretty incredibly stupid to pay £65mil for, considering what the "Royal Family" did to HavenCo. []
  • by skurk ( 78980 ) * on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:39AM (#17507266) Homepage Journal
    1. Buy Sealand on credit, you can get a loan anywhere these days.
    2. Apply for your own TLD.
    3. Open up for a new domain rush, demand ridicilous prices for certain domains
    4. Release the loan using the income from domain sales.
    5. You own Sealand, you are king.
    • by udderly ( 890305 ) *

      1. Buy Sealand on credit, you can get a loan anywhere these days.
      2. Apply for your own TLD.
      3. Open up for a new domain rush, demand ridicilous prices for certain domains
      4. Release the loan using the income from domain sales.
      5. You own Sealand, you are king.

      You forgot:
      6. Profit!!

    • by pedantic bore ( 740196 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:48AM (#17507378)
      Well, I think that's not all that different from what they did... except step 2 is a little more iffy than you might think.

      Last time there was a slashdot story on them, they had the business model of providing a place where folks could store sensitive data without fear of subpeona -- they wanted to be, for data storage, what Switzerland used to be for bank accounts. Guess it didn't work. They don't really have as much independence as they thought... it's tough to hold your ground when your entire country is one "accident" (or torpedo) from oblivion at worst, or a few weeks of blockade away from starvation at best.

      • item you missed (Score:3, Insightful)

        by way2trivial ( 601132 )
        starvation? it's called fishing
        • And water?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            You never learned how to purify water using solar power?

            Here's the short version:
            Take a large vat full of salt water, place a recepticle in the middle to catch the fresh water, cover over with clear object (preferably concave so the curvature can direct the condensed water toward the fresh water recepticle, and then let the sun do it's work. You periodically remove the fresh water and add more salt water.
            • by evilandi ( 2800 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:41AM (#17507992) Homepage
              bladesjester: the sun do its work

              Off the coast of Essex, England, UK? In the North Sea?

              I'm guessing you've never been to the east coast of England. It is sunny for approximately half an hour in the afternoon only of the third Wednesday after Pentecost.

              A far, far faster method of obtaining fresh water in the North Sea would be to simply open your mouth and tilt your head skywards. It'll fill with fresh rainwater - no desalination required - in about six seconds.
          • top of my head
            4-solar still
            5-condensation from exhalation collection
      • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @12:50PM (#17509698) Homepage
        Last time there was a slashdot story on them, they had the business model of providing a place where folks could store sensitive data without fear of subpeona

        Such confidence would be misplaced.

        Either the platform is British Soveriegn territory or it isn't.

        The most likely case is that the British courts consider the platform to be under UK jurisdiction following the expansion of the teritorial limits. International law does not recognize teritorial claims based on man made structures. Contrary to claims made British court has ever recognized sovereignty claims by any other party over the platform.

        Ergo if the UK courts choose to issue a subpoena the subpoena can be served and enforced. Moreover since the Bates family are the directors of HavenCo and they live in the UK they can be arrested and imprisoned on contempt charges if they refuse to comply regardless of the sovereign status of the platform.

        If the British courts did choose to recognize the sovereignty of the platform they or anyone else can declare war on it and blow the thing to smitherines if they make a nuisance of themselves.

        The main reason that this has not happened to date seems to be that HavenCo does not have any customers worth the trouble.

    • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:52AM (#17507426) Homepage Journal

      1) get together with other geeks
      2) make a joint offer for sealand ownership, each one pays a little share.
      3) get sealand
      4) enact legislation which is impossible anywhere else because of WTO, like: no patent on software, only copyright. No stupid patents on anything. There is something that can be done for censorship, to free scientific research hampered by stupid lawsuits, lots of possibilities.
      5) Open embassies wherever a geek need a safe place to develop his ideas without fears of lawsuits. An embassy is territory of sealand too. SSH provides no data sent to sealand and other embassies violates any international law as it's just encrypted blobs there.
      6) Profit for all humanity.

      What do you think?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:57AM (#17507488)
        You forgot "4a) Actually get recognised by at least one other country". Best of luck with that.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          You forgot "4a) Actually get recognised by at least one other country". Best of luck with that.

          4a1) Split "Sealand" into 2 separate countries
          4a2) Have each country recognize each other

          And now that means 2 TLDs, so TWICE the profit!!!!
      • Well, seeing the price tag and it being a tenancy, it's better to buy a platform somewhere in international waters, and declare independence.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 )
          No longer possible. After Sealand, one of the first things that happened was a change of international jurisdiction concerning such renegade actions.

          You don't think countries enjoy the idea of their subjects declaring independence, do you?
      • You are correct. The value in Sealand is being able to create embassies of Sealand. It should be easy to find nations willing to host Sealand embassies: if only to tweak the noses of the "first world".

        Sealand in itself is too dependent on the UK government. But really, the "data centre" or other services can easily be provided at the embassy level.

        The remaining problem is that this approach is expensive -- the embassy hosting nations require investment in infrastructure. Or Sealand would have to own its own
      • 7) Threaten to develop nuclear bombs
        8) Get the US to build you a nuclear reactor that won't produce fissionible material for free.

        You now have all the power you'll ever need for your lan parties, de-salination, and brewing saki.
        • > 7) Threaten to develop nuclear bombs

          being a geek republic I'd threaten to develop BETTER nuclear bombs :)
      • by anaesthetica ( 596507 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @03:42PM (#17512494) Homepage Journal
        An embassy is territory of sealand too.

        Nitpick: embassies are not the territory of the foreign country. They are under the jurisdiction of the foreign country. So embassies in the United States are still United States territory, but they are under foreign jurisdiction, not the jurisdiction of the United States.

    • by zlogic ( 892404 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:56AM (#17507474)
      Here's an easier way:
      1. Buy Sealand on credit, you can get a loan anywhere these days.
      2. You own Sealand, you are king.
      3. Create a law that forbids the King of Sealand to release loans ;-)
      • Good point... just make sure you son't sign any extradition treaties. Or expect to travel anywhere. And learn to swim in case your loan sharks (pun intended) decide to "kneecap" the oil platform.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by hardburn ( 141468 )

        That would be considered defaulting on a loan. Countries have a credit rating just like individuals do. The reason the US government can have a multi-trillion doller debt is because it has never defaulted on a loan.

        So sure, you can do that, but it's still going to foobar your credit rating.

      • by TheLink ( 130905 )

        1) Just sail over with a big bunch of armed people
        2) start a revolution (win of course)
        3) execute dicators/kings if necessary
        4) hold elections
        5) establish democracy

        They've pissed off the UK gov, so the UK gov is likely to ignore the extermination of Sealand.

        Hasn't happened yet because someone else could easily do the same thing back to you and it's not worth the trouble for all that.
    • 5. You own Sealand, you are king.

      It is good to be the king!
  • So it's for sale is it? I seem to recall at the time that their hopes hinged on making it a jurisdiction for legal gambling and other commerce that was heavily regulated in other jurisdictions. So now they want to try their hand at web hosting, do they? Interesting...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Scarblac ( 122480 )

      So now they want to try their hand at web hosting, do they?

      They tried their hand at web hosting years ago, during the original dot com boom. As the summary says, that's "in the past". The URL of the company providing it is []. That site used to have pictures of their facilities on Sealand, seems all that's left now is a hosting company, not saying anything about where the physical location of their servers is.

    • by ebuck ( 585470 )
      Boats are cheaper. Take it out about 10 miles, and you should be in international waters. Sure, there's a risk involved, and pirates are not a thing of the past, but it's been effective as a gabling workaround wherever there's been a port for many, many years.
  • by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <haplo&epithna,com> on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:42AM (#17507300) Homepage
    However its hard to see it working out long term, otherwise it would actually be a decent way around the cyberspace annoyances. However the problem boils down to you have to get the bandwidth from somewhere. Most likely the UK due to its proximity. If you ISP is someplace with draconian IP laws then you always have the potential to be cut off.
  • Territorial Waters (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:44AM (#17507322) Journal
    Sealand exists because in 1967, Britian's territorial waters extended only 3 miles out from the shore.

    Therefore, they could legitimately claim the fort as theirs. If they had tried to do that after 1987... it wouldn't have worked, because the 3-mile limit was changed to 12 miles.
    • I'm not so how that would work since it was built in the first place by the British Government I would expect that they are still the owners it's just that its not worth them doing anything about the current squatters right now.
      • by eln ( 21727 )
        From what I understand, the British government abandoned it, so it fell under laws relating to salvaging abandoned vessels in open water (like shipwrecks). These laws basically amount to "finders, keepers."
    • Does anyone else see the UK government laying out the cash to take back Sealand? It'd be a quiet end to what may have been something of an embarassment to them over the years.
  • by Myrrlin ( 1006959 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:51AM (#17507416)
    Sealand is a bit of a running joke for the people of Harwich. I would contest their "uninterrupted sea views" as I'm fairly sure that the very brightly coloured (luminous yellow!) Hotel Continental situated on the cliffs of Harwich can be seen from it, hell... they can probably see it from Holland! It's also probably quite fire damaged at the moment having suffered a fire [] last year, and not having its own fire brigade or hospital services had to make use of the British ones.
    • True but I do believe that according to wikipedia the fire damage had been repaired by November, I'm more curiouse as to where they get the money for all of this stuff was he welthy before taking control of sealand?
  • Oblig. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:55AM (#17507462) Homepage Journal
    Hesh wants sex!
  • by nastro ( 32421 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:55AM (#17507466)
    As long as the new owners don't change the current statutes on Monkey Knife-fighting, I don't see this as a problem.

    I also hope they clear up the inconsistencies in the human-bovine marriage laws.
  • by mulhollandj ( 807571 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:59AM (#17507514)
    Sounds like it would make a great superhero headquarters.
  • by javaDragon ( 187973 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:01AM (#17507532) Homepage
    According to Sealand's official website [], the platform sustained heavy damage by fire last summer. From the desperate tone of the account, I gather that Sealand might be very close to uninhabitable by now. That might explain the decision to sell it off, more than the old age of the founder.
  • Cut price (Score:2, Redundant)

    by LordSnooty ( 853791 )
    Get in now while it's cheap - it suffered a large fire [] last year. "Michael Bates, a member of the family which owns the fort, said damage to living accommodation was extensive".
  • by Peter Trepan ( 572016 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:05AM (#17507588)

    Nations are sovereign only because they have enough firepower to keep other nations from claiming them. What does it matter what the laws of Sealand are, if you own it and you have no army? Is the army included, or do you have to put it together yourself?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      I really don't know what people are expecting out of this place. But bear in mind that the only reason that Britain leaves it alone is the fact that it's not worth the hassle. The second the place actually started to make money (or did something really illegal), you can bet that the taxman would be showing up. And he's probably be arriving on a Navy ship with a lot of big guns, just to make his position crystal clear.


      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I'm not so certain about that. Then England would be compelled to provide postage service, free health care, etc. Given the inconvenience of the location, it might not be worthwhile.
    • by Marcus Green ( 34723 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:23AM (#17507776) Homepage
      Yes is it only the 450 strong Luxembourg army and their enormous firepower that stops Belgium, France or Germany from relieving them of their soverignty (pick other examples to suit).
      • In terms of active troops per 1,000 citizens [], Luxembourg has a higher percentage of active military than China, India, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, or Canada. Any invading country would face a similar ratio of benefit vs. expenditure. I stand by my claim. You can't have a sovereign country without an appropriately sized army to back it up.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Except (and I am a Luxembourger) that in terms of military power, it's usually the army that is in absolute terms bigger that wins... Our army is a joke, and we know it. From what I'm concerned, they can downsize it all they want.

          Also, it used to be that you needed a military training to get access to certain well paid jobs. I think you still do, but not anymore for the most famous one: Postman... Government jobs (or para-government jobs like Postman) here are much better paid than jobs in the private

          • by TheLink ( 130905 )
            If I were the Luxembourg Gov, I'd try to get my citizens to all have passports of other friendly countries.

            IMO the best defense for you guys in event of a "conventional war" (ala WWII) is to all leave your country, hide somewhere else and then when convenient take the fight to the attacking country (why screw up your own country?).

            If that's not possible and a lot have to stay behind then it's Mr Sniper/Saboteur time...

            Problem is you'd probably be called terrorists ;).

            I guess the other option is you could ju
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Raumkraut ( 518382 )
          You can't have a sovereign country without an appropriately sized army to back it up.

          List of countries without armed forces []
          • I suspect that most of those countries have agreements with nations that do have militaries, but that's an interesting rebuttal. Especially in the case of Vatican City, which may only be protected from foreign invasion by the threat of international Catholic outrage.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jfengel ( 409917 )
        And if Luxembourg became a thorn in the side of any of those countries, I suspect they'd find themselves invaded right quick. If Luxembourg were to start hosting child pornography or harboring criminals, its 450-strong army would be little comfort.

        Whenever Sealand comes up on Slashdot, people talk about what a great off-site data center it would make. And it would, as long as its illegal activities didn't piss off the US too much. If the US decided that there was some truly crucial piece of evidence there t
      • Not really. Didn't stop Germany during World War II, and won't stop them again when the Nazis return to power. They are there for security duties and to back up the police against their own citizens.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nations are sovereign only because they have enough firepower to keep other nations from claiming them.

      This is exactly why Sealand needs nuclear weapons.
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:13AM (#17507658) Journal
    I believe It's empty right now. Sail up there with a paper knife. occupy the terriroty. Kill all zero people who resist. Declare yourself the revolutionary government.

    Of course, the declaration of what makes for statehood is a little arbitrary. So rather than go to the effort, I declare myself King of Antarctica.
  • Why don't a group of Slashdotters invade this country and take it for themselves?

    1. It would take no more then ten invaders, armed with nothing more than beer and a hamburger.
    2. The person living there just wants to go home anyway.

    Think of the possibilities!
  • Firstly, if they sold it (instead of just offering tennancy) would they have to call it "New Sealand?" Furthermore, is there a state-sanctioned religion? Do they celebrate festivus? I won't bid unless I get to pin the leader.

    Sealand is awesome. It renews my desire to declare myself holy ground to avoid income tax.

  • by shirizaki ( 994008 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:47AM (#17508050) s.jpg []

    More like "Seaplatform". though it doesn't have that ring to it.

    If anyone is interested in it, move along. Not only is it in the middle of nowhere, you face invasion by several post - industrialized nations. You're better off buying an island in the keys. At least then you're lucky to have something called coconuts and White Sandy beaches.
  • by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:06AM (#17508246)
    For far less than 65m you can build your own damn platform and anchor it in the channel or north sea.
    • by szembek ( 948327 )
      This seams quite true. And not a bad idea!
    • Not to mention you could probably move it elsewhere... near a country that would be more open to this type of thing than the UK
    • by Cauchy ( 61097 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @12:42PM (#17509590)
      The problem is that in 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea changed international law so that no new artificial platform could claim nation status. While no country explicitly recognizes Sealand, since its claims to independence predates 1982, it is exempt from this convention.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Timbotronic ( 717458 )
        I wonder if that was in response to the nuts who created the Republic of Minerva [].

        Always loved this one. In 1971, some crazy bastard from Vegas with more dollars than sense rolls up at a partially submerged atoll in the Pacific with several barge loads of sand, creates a small island and declares independence. Various Pacific nations find this a bit of a worry and about 6 months later, they get conquered and annexed by Tonga. Apparently the Tongan King himself came along with a few troops and a brass band
  • And they made it sound like life was rough out there but they were making bucks. At least i got a free perl book out of the conference :)
  • With all the money they apparently make, AllOfMp3 should move to Sealand! It would stop all the copyright disputes!!
  • by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:46AM (#17508774)
    ...the architect's design for the refurbishment is quite nice: jpg []

  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by SeePage87 ( 923251 ) on Monday January 08, 2007 @01:32PM (#17510410)
    One of my teachers in high school taught us about Sealand because his son was one of the co-founders. Didn't think I'd see it come up on slashdot. Funny story about the country: after it was founded, many of the world's nations extended their borders into sea from (I think about) 5 miles to 10 miles. Sealand viewed this as an aggressive action by the UK since Sealand was now entirely within UK borders and was considered by the British to be UK soil. Sealands response was to extend their borders to 10 miles as well and claim the respective British coastal areas as Sealand soil.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.