The news drew my attention, because a lawyer friend of mine once had given a very humoristic presentation about it and because during the Sixties and Seventies the Brits and the Dutch shared a history of free Radio and even free TV stations on board of ships, platforms and other constructions outside territorial waters which officially were dubbed Radio (TV) Pirates. Some of that history is documented on line by one time “pirate” DJ Bob Le-Roi.
The Principality of Sealand is a concrete and steel platform located 7 miles East from the UK shore and North of the Thames Estuary. It was built as a fort, called Roughs Tower, in WW II and derelicted afterwards. In 1967 Paddy Roy Bates, a former English major, settled there with his family. He proclaimed the island his own state and gave himself the title of prince, Prince Roy. When the Royal Navy tried to evict him, Prince Roy saw them off with warning shots fired from the fort. A judge ruled that Sealand lay beyond the three-mile limit of Britainâ€™s territorial waters and was, therefore, outside government control.
The Brits and Dutch even extended their original 3 mile territorial water zone to a 12 mile zone because of the ongoing piracy. After the extension at least the Dutch radio pirates were rolled up by the Dutch Royal Navy.
Sealand cleverly, and thus far probably effectively, countered the extension of the 3 to 12 mile zone by extending its own territorial zone to 12 miles and thus claiming they are still in international waters and the border between them and the UK being half way, 3.5 miles from the UK shore. It is not a nation recognized by the UN, but has its own currency, stamps and passports (including falsifications).
It is easy to see that it has some potential: A wedding location, a resort with (virtual) casino and tax free shopping facility, since nowadays tax free shopping is almost impossible within the EU, to name a few….I wished I had some cash laying around.