The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognised self-declared state (or micronation) that claims Roughs Tower, an offshore platform located in the North Seaapproximately 12 kilometres off the coast of Suffolk, England, as its territory. Roughs Tower is a disused Maunsell Sea Fort, originally called HM Fort Roughs, built as an anti-air defensive gun platform by the British during World War II.
Since 1967, the decommissioned HM Fort Roughs has been occupied by family and associates of Paddy Roy Bates, who claim that it is an independent sovereign state. Bates seized it from a group of pirate radio broadcasters in 1967 with the intention of setting up his own station at the site. He attempted to establish Sealand as a nation-state in 1975 with the writing of a national constitution and establishment of other national symbols.
While it has been described as the world's smallest country or nation, Sealand is not officially recognised by any established sovereign state in spite of Sealand's government's claim that it has been de facto recognised by the United Kingdom and Germany. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in force since 1994 states "Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf." Sealand was not grandfathered, and sits in British waters.Bates moved to mainland Essex when he became elderly, naming his son Michael regent. Bates died in October 2012 at the age of 91. Michael lives in England.
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