In 1966, I was 14, I left private school and moved with my father Roy Bates to an abandoned WW2 fortress in the North Sea and on Sept. 2, 1967, we declared the fortress to be the Principality of Sealand, an independent sovereign nation. My father declared himself Prince and my mother Princess.

Our claim was emboldened the next year when, after I faced weapons charges for firing warning shots at an approaching British vessel, a British court ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the case because the exchange had occurred in international waters.

A decade later, a greater drama ensued when a group of Germans with plans to build a luxury casino on the fortress tried to take control of Sealand while my mother and father were away. They held me hostage for several days before releasing me. A few days later myself, my dad and a few close Sealanders stormed Sealand and retook it in a dramatic armed helicopter raid, (the helicopter was piloted by our close friend John Crewdson, a James Bond stunt pilot!). Once the fort was retaken, we imprisoned the men there. When the German government sought Britain’s help in freeing them, Britain declined to intervene, citing the 1968 ruling. Germany sent a diplomat, the men were eventually freed, and My father Roy asserted that Germany had effectively recognized Sealand as a sovereign nation.

Sealand has its own flag, currency, passports, national anthem, stamps and most recently a national Football Team!

There have also been recent meetings in Hollywood regarding the making of a Sealand film.

I am currently editing my book ready for publishers to see.

In recent years we have started to issue Titles of Nobility to our supporters.

Our official government website: http://www.sealandgov.org

Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PrincipalityOfSealand

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SealandGov

In the second quarter of 2013 we will be launching www.havenco.com …we will be offering a comprehensive solution to your online privacy needs! Please go to www.havenco.com for more info!

Our Facebook page has proof that this is indeed me!

EDIT: People of the world thank you for an entertaining and fun evening. I agreed to come on here for two hours and have been on here nearly ten hours.Thanks for the questions both serious and flippant. It has been fun. Isn't the internet amazing? When we were first on Sealand we were totally cut off not just from the world but from everyone both near and far. It is hard to imagine such isolation these days. Good luck and may your gods whoever they are go with you!

Comments: 3341 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

Semiautomatix1877 karma

Your grace, I just came here to say that I'm a lord of Sealand, therefore I'm at your service whenever it is required.

That is all.

http://i.imgur.com/Mgu0uMV.jpg

sealandgov1342 karma

Great! thanks for your support!

Scope721481 karma

Oh my god, I heard about you guys during a class at college and my friends and I got drunk one day and sent you an email declaring war! We threatened to take your shanty! Did you ever get it? It had a picture of my friend with an orange apron sitting on the toilet holding a toilet paper roll and a can of natty light.

Ok, Just woke up (I live in Australia these days) and saw this. Here is the link to the photo.

http://imgur.com/qX5mXvE.jpg

Text from the Email:

Seen here is the Sultan of Squat of the glorious Land of Bowel. He has announced his desire for Sealand's Oil and Humble Shanty, so we the people of the glorious Land of Bowel formally declare war upon the treacherous Sealand.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!!!!!! THE OIL AND SHANTY WILL BE OURS!!!!!

Cessation of Hostilities: I, the current ambassador for the Glorious Land of Bowel, declare the Oil and Shanty of the treacherous Sealand to be the the sovereign territory of the treacherous Sealand. And recognize Sealand as a sovereign state hence forth.

Until further notice.

sealandgov1069 karma

ha ha to be fair people declare war on us daily almost. I am sure I would have remembered the picture though. Maybe you should re submit it with a cessation of hostilities.

bluesnake41408 karma

On a scale of 1 to Joffrey. How badly do you perform as a Prince?

sealandgov1554 karma

As much as we take it seriously we have a lot of fun with it and get to travel a lot with related business. Perhaps Sealand is more of a Winterfell

ruotwocone1189 karma

I do corrosion engineering for a living and I wonder what your plan is for when the structure starts to exhibit serious structural deficiencies from corrosion of the reinforcing steel. Does your nation have the income to perform repairs/maintenance? Or will you just have to find a new home when the concrete is too far gone?

Thanks for the AMA!

sealandgov1008 karma

It would be great to have a chat by email. Obviously it is something that will need addressing. I am not looking forwards to "Dick picks" ha ha I have deleted the address thanks. (it would never occur to me although we do get some odd questions at times)

the_zorn_legacy406 karma

I have a follow up question. It seems the old fort was floated out to sea and then the base was filled with seawater. That indicates the water is not too deep. What is stopping you from hiring a tug and towing a LOT of precast concrete tubes to sealand? You could sink them/fill them with dredge and expand your land area. This could open up a lot of opportunities as you would be an actual island that could even support gardens and further building space.

sealandgov421 karma

As you can imagine we have researched such ideas. Thanks for the input keep em coming!

ForAHamburgerToday364 karma

It really would be amazing to see Sealand become a permaculture oasis in the middle of the ocean.

sealandgov71 karma

That would be great all we need is the dollars to do it.

motionless19997 karma

Have you ever considered invading North Korea just to save the Americans from doing it?

sealandgov1629 karma

I have been to a Korean restaurant and really liked the food but I think I will leave any invading to our neighbours and their allies.

aluminumpark371 karma

Cmon man. I thought we were friends.

Your Friend,
U.S.A.

sealandgov50 karma

Yeh but I am a bit busy for the next couple of weeks and we don't have one of those sexy "Star wars" defence systems that you say you don't have and you probably hope different?

Salacious-884 karma

What is your defense plan for when another country decides to violate your sovereignty and take over? Would you become a government in exile?

Do you have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Dave?

sealandgov727 karma

we have always managed to defend ourselves in the past. Dave who??

WHATYEAHOK815 karma

Have you thought about submitting a proposal to Google to have them implement high-resolution imagery on Google Maps for your wonderful state?

sealandgov860 karma

I have but haven't gotten around to it.

KoalaYummies628 karma

Do you live at Sealand year round?

Also, how can you afford to live on your principality? I can imagine that importing goods to a tiny fortress is expensive. Judging from the pictures, I can imagine that it would be very hard to generate a substantial income.

sealandgov588 karma

Thats the reason i have to spend the majority of my time in the UK as we have other business interests that help support Sealand. We have very loyal supporters that help and our website www.sealandgov.org has a shop for merchandise to help take some of the pressure off

Scarytoilethair19 karma

[deleted]

sealandgov20 karma

we dont do less than high standards! haha

thehawksiangirl601 karma

There are others more qualified to ask about your politics than myself.

I'm pretty much just after the kidnapping story. Overly violent, or that scene from the movies where you watched cartoons and got to stay up late? Lasting, traumatizing effects?

sealandgov936 karma

It was violent and at one point I was bound hand and foot, elbows knees and carried to the side and they talked in German about launching me over the side. At the time I just wanted to kill them! but it would be wrong to say there was no side effects as a few weeks later I nearly shot my best pal when he came into my room to wake me up for my watch. He kept the bullet he dug out of the wall after this incident ha ha

Aqpwod881 karma

So when you were kidnapped, were you technically a prisoner of war?

And when you nearly shot your friend, was that technically almost civil war?

sealandgov825 karma

ha ha no I was just pissed off!

preske223 karma

[deleted]

sealandgov607 karma

We released three and kept two. one of which had committed treason. They had messed up the generators so we couldn't put him in the electric chair. We thought we might need to hang on to what bullets we had to fight off his mates, and rope was in short supply. so we let him live amongst us after a couple of days. His coffee making and washing up skills were crap and his state of mind had us queuing up for the only straight jacket we had so we could get a decent nights sleep. We decided for our own sanity to release him back into the world. On a serious note this was after a visit from a German diplomat.

Mellophone21461 karma

If other countries recognized your sovereignty, would you consider joining the United Nations?

sealandgov695 karma

Yes if we could fund it. We have had meetinsg with the UN.

motionless19421 karma

What is Sealands population?

sealandgov634 karma

We have over 50 citizens but the permanent population fluctuates dependent on work going on at the time. We're also issuing new standard passports to our citizens this year

ateoclockminusthel250 karma

A quick Google search says 27. I'd like confirmation on this.

sealandgov691 karma

That figure is based on a census we ran in 2002 I believe

motionless1929 karma

He just said over 50. So what's going on here Prince Michael?

sealandgov92 karma

Stop being so picky! Do you want to come out for a count up? All of our citizens hold dual nationality so the majority are non-residents!

Frajer407 karma

What inspired your dad to found Sealand?

sealandgov718 karma

He wasn't happy the way the country he had fought such a hard war to defend in the second world war was going. He was wounded several time for king and country and felt let down by the establishment. Having said that he would have stepped up to the firing line to defend it again had he been needed.He was a Sealander but also a great British patriot. A paradox!

ninja_hamster377 karma

What do you do for fun? what is there apart from rooms? What is the deal with food supplies etc? Thanks for taking the time to answer questions also, hows the internet connection?

sealandgov518 karma

There is a small gym and the usual household set up TV and satellite connection etc. Generators, wind power mostly. Most supplies apart from fish and drinking water are imported. Thank you for being so polite.

maetthew338 karma

I hate to be this guy but since no one have made the claim yet, proof?

sealandgov258 karma

Not a problem..go to our facebook page for proof https://www.facebook.com/PrincipalityOfSealand

sealandgov174 karma

also just put proof up on my personal twitter page @SealandPrince

rei_hiino302 karma

Is it possible for anyone to visit Sealand?

chief_running_joke737 karma

Level with us. You personally check this email account, don't you?

sealandgov474 karma

Ha ha no but I get copied in to emails of interest

this_isnotmyname177 karma

how many tourists can you hold at once?

sealandgov397 karma

The fortress used to hold 120 people during the war but we're set up for around 30

skidamarinkydoo293 karma

Prince Michael, thanks for chatting with us mainlanders. Sealand is a great story and a fun piece of world trivia, but can micronations play a more significant role in global politics? Does Sealand stand for a larger cause, aside from its own independence?

sealandgov295 karma

It would be nice to think so but we don't have the finance and infrastructure to influence world change. We don't have the billions in taxes to sit in the United nations etc..

WNYC1139275 karma

What do you do for income? In other words, how do you make your living? Sealand does not seem (as far as I can tell) to have an economy that can be taxed. Wikipedia mentions "issuing coins and postage stamps," but does that bring in enough money to support you and/or your family?

sealandgov432 karma

we have coins (new one out soon commemorating my dad who passed away in October), stamps and also people help support the Principality by joining the Sealand nobility.

J4k0b42134 karma

I think they also host web services of a nature such that they could not be legal in a country with international obligations.

sealandgov245 karma

Some things can be frowned upon in certain jurisdictions while perfectly legal or acceptable in others. We do recognise an international responsibility

othersomethings272 karma

So do you get to be king at some point?

sealandgov460 karma

No we made it a Principality to simplify the law.

idmb258 karma

Are there some nice updated pictures of what the inside is like? All the photos I've seen look old and trashy... From the fire etc.

sealandgov301 karma

We will be uploading some new ones in the next few weeks

cat6_racer250 karma

How do you feel about the fact that Sealand is routinely used in International Relations academia as an example of what does not constitue a state/country?

sealandgov441 karma

I think it is very cool. The mouse that roared.

arms_of_a_bear245 karma

How do you get down from the platform? Is there a secret door to go sea level? I find no pictures or diagrams showing how this is possible

Or is this accessible only by helicopter and crane?

sealandgov507 karma

Diesel hydraulic winch. Or helicopter. There are no secret doors (that we want to talk about)

Ithurtsprecious244 karma

My boyfriend bought me a Lady title for my birthday last year and I demanded everyone call me by my sealand name. Being a Lady is so wonderful!

sealandgov186 karma

That's great thank you for your support.

Milf-guy211 karma

Can you print your own money ?

sealandgov630 karma

Yes. we are looking at ways to do it securely. Also Bitcoin sounds really interesting if they stabilize.

nulleureka201 karma

As a person who have the national anthem of Sealand as a ringtone (not kidding), I want to ask, if i need a visa to visit Sealand even if i got my Sealand ID and noble title. And if is there any kind of organization (UN like) of micronations.

Sorry for my bad English.

sealandgov185 karma

Now that's a supporter!! All visitors need a visa. I think there is but I am not sure if we have got involved.

mijour196 karma

Is the North Sea your Public toilet ??

sealandgov432 karma

Well its part of the UK France, Holland and Belgium's public toilet I don't suppose our small contribution will make much of an impact on it!

KarateBillP192 karma

What kind of advice would you give someone who wanted to start their own country?

sealandgov331 karma

Long pockets a lot of fortitude and you will not find a jurisdiction where it can be done these days. It would probably be more economical for you to spend your money on a three legged race horse.

Sean0489183 karma

How do I get a lord and lady title for Sealand? I would like me and my wife to get one..

wormonline215 karma

You can order them here: http://www.sealandgov.org/title-pack/lordladybaronbaroness

Apparently you can also choose to own a part of Sealand, I'm curious to know what that means.

sealandgov253 karma

You can show your support by purchasing a small part of Sealand territory. We appreciate support in every way.

RedEchoGamer167 karma

What does your crest represent as a whole?

sealandgov329 karma

The coat of arms was designed by count Robert of Skylight a New Zealander. The shield has the colours of our flag red for Roy my father, black for our days in pirate radio and white for the path of virtue we try to walk today. The fist for strength, the lightning bolts for pirate radio, the fish tails for the maritime connection and of course e mare libertas ..from the sea freedom!

Rocket-Toaster166 karma

Are there any plans to expand the size of Sealand, or form a unity with any other countries?

sealandgov225 karma

Expansion and modernisation making a more comfortable and safer environment would be great. Anyone want to get involved? We don't feel a need for unity with other countries but are open for discussion.

motionless19150 karma

What's the female:male ratio there? Do you have a harem?

sealandgov233 karma

I wish!

Wyvernjack138 karma

You're my hero, my liege. I want you to know that you've inspired me greatly. I have one question: what's your country's greatest strength?

sealandgov255 karma

Our supporters.

DoogleDM105 karma

I know where I'm going if there is ever a zombie outbreak...

sealandgov164 karma

That's cool I will look out for you

Matthias72060 karma

What is your favorite part of living in Sealand?

sealandgov130 karma

Peace and quiet

richb8359 karma

Do you have a military or police force?

sealandgov104 karma

We have a special unit of loyal Sealander's ready to defend their country should it be required as in 1978

Pyronic_Chaos55 karma

What is your favorite candy and how much does it cost to import it (if you have to import it)?

sealandgov116 karma

I don't eat the stuff I'm fat enough as it is. Don't ask about the beer!

Jackandahalfass14 karma

Didn't havenco already exist and fail?

Edit: Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HavenCo

sealandgov13 karma

yes. Different havenco

YoFoShizzleMyNizzle10 karma

Do you have any plans to "modernize" Sealand and try to give it a more modern feel such as done by Sheikh Rashid for Dubai to go from Sandy Dunes to Skyscrapers? Also how has becoming a prince affected your youth as you said it all happened when you were 14

sealandgov16 karma

Do you have the Sheikh's phone number? I have to say I didn't exactly have a normal youth. When I wrote in my book I slept with an automatic pistol under my pillow for years my daughter was horrified and said that's just not normal daddy and you just drop it in your book as a one liner! Like everyone does it. Don't they I replied.