Felistowe Dockers

Felistowe Dockers

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Principality of Sealand off the coast of Felixstowe

Smallest country in the world Sealand


Sealand was founded as a sovereign Principality in 1967 in international waters, six miles off the eastern shores of Britain. The history of Sealand is a story of a struggle for liberty. Sealand was founded on the principle that any group of people dissatisfied with the oppressive laws and restrictions of existing nation states may declare independence in any place not claimed to be under the jurisdiction of another sovereign entity. The location chosen was Roughs Tower, an island fortress created in World War II by Britain and subsequently abandoned to the jurisdiction of the High Seas.
installing sealand
The independence of Sealand was upheld in a 1968 British court decision where the judge held that Roughs Tower stood in international waters and did not fall under the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. This gave birth to Sealand's national motto of E Mare Libertas, or "From the Sea, Freedom".

The official language of Sealand is English and the Sealand Dollar has a fixed exchange rate of one U.S. dollar. Passports and stamps have been in circulation since 1969 and the latter decade of the 20th century saw an impressive expansion in its activity both socially and industrially as it began to develop a growing economic base which underscored its long-standing membership of the international community of States.
The website which was originally constructed for Sealand is located at http://www.fruitsofthesea.demon.co.uk/sealand/; there you may find early pictures and other information relating to the first 25 years of the island's life; the web site is maintained there for historical purposes.

IT claims to hold the most sensitive secrets of governments around the globe.

And now the classified information unearthed by the notorious WikiLeaks organisations could be shared with the world off the Felixstowe coast.
The royal family of Sealand, the independent mini-state based on an old war-time fort, has been in contact with Julian Assange’s representatives about moving its internet servers to the micro-nation.
WikiLeaks believes using the location – situated seven miles off the Suffolk coast – would give it immunity from prosecution.
Prince Michael Bates admitted there had been contact with Assange’s organisation but would not divulge the details – or whether Sealand had entered into an agreement to help.

The Sealand story

1942: Roughs Tower built, right.
1967: Kingdom of Sealand declared
1968: Flag, currency, stamps and passports issued
1969: British Government offers £5,000 for fort so it can be demolished – Major Roy Bates, below, stays put.
1975: Constitution for Sealand signed.
1978: Germans and Dutch raiders seize fort but Bates family and friends recapture it in surprise dawn helicopter attack.
1990: Mini-state at centre of court case after shooting incident.
1998: Fears that forged Sealand passports used for money laundering
2000: Sealand at centre of global terrorist investigation.
2002: Mini-state becomes the base for an offshore internet company.
2006: Tenancy put up for sale, offering people chance to run their own island.
2010: Principality is taken off the market.
2011: Prince Michael signs deal with literary agent to write story of Sealand.
“There has been contact but we cannot really talk about it,” said Prince Michael, who is based in Essex but lives part of the year on the 932 sq yd North Sea structure.
“Any such dealings would be a private business arrangement and all our dealings with our clients are confidential.”
American TV network Fox News reported earlier this year that sources within the hacker community had said Assange’s financial backers had been working behind the scenes on the logistics of moving the servers to international waters.
The organisation’s servers are currently based in several locations including Sweden and Iceland.
Sealand celebrates its 46th anniversary as a micro-nation this year – even though Britain still doesn’t recognise it as an independent state.
The 4,500-ton twin-towered structure – which on clear days can be seen from Felixstowe prom – cost £1million to build and contains seven storeys of living quarters for 150 people.
Wealthy businessman Major Roy Bates, a former 8th Army Royal Fusiliers major, took over the fort with a vision of creating his own country, and made his wife Joan a princess.
The country has its own constitution, passports, flag, stamps, and even coins featuring the head of former beauty queen Princess Joan. It even has its own football team – though they never play at home because, as Prince Michael says, losing the ball into the sea would be a constant annoyance.
Over the years there have been battles and skirmishes with groups who tried to take it for themselves but today it survives peacefully, used as a haven for offshore internet servers.

During the Second World War the British government built several Fortress islands in the North Sea to defend its coasts from German invaders. These forts were built illegally in international waters.
One of these Fortresses, consisting of concrete and steel construction, was the famous royal fort Roughs Tower situated slightly north of the estuary region of the Thames River. In contrast to the original plan to locate the tower within the sovereign territory of England, this fortress was situated at a distance of approximately 7 nautical miles from the coast, which is more than double the then applicable 3 mile range of territorial waters; to put it briefly, this island was situated in the international waters of the North Sea.
The forts were abandoned in the early 1950’s and whilst built in international waters in a time of world crisis, they should have been pulled down to comply with international law. Except for the aforementioned fortress, the fortresses were subsequently pulled down. This resulted in the portentous uniqueness of the fortress. Fort Roughs Tower, situated at the high seas, had been deserted and abandoned, res derelicta and terra nullius. From a legal point of view, it therefore constituted extra-national territory.


In 1966 Roy Bates a former infantry major in the first battalion Royal Fusiliers whose regimental headquarters strangely enough was the “Tower of London”  decided to take over the fortress. It was Christmas Eve 1966.
Roy smarting from a legal battle with the British government over his offshore radio station “Radio Essex” which had broadcast from another abandoned fortress thatwas found by the British courts to be within UK jurisdiction. These stations were known affectionately by the press as “Pirate” radio stations and were much loved by the British public as they supplied everything that the BBC did not at the time, Pop music and amusing presenters.
Roy never did bring his radio station back to life but instead after taking much advice from his lawyers had the idea to declare this fortress island the independent state of “Sealand”. Claiming “Jus Gentium” over a part of the globe that was Terra Nullius.
2nd of September 1967 along with his son Michael (14), daughter Penelope (16) and several friends and followers Roy declared The Principality of Sealand raising a newly designed flag and making his beautiful wife “Princess Joan”. It was her birthday and Roy gave her the best and most romantic present he could think of the title of Princess.


It was not long before the British Government decided they could not have what ministers described as a possible Cuba off the east coast of England. They sent the military out to destroy other forts that were left in international waters. The Bates family looked on as huge explosions sent the massive structures hundreds of feet in the air and debris floated past for days.
Helicopters that had carried the explosives buzzed above and the navy tug carrying the demolition crew passed close by and shouted “You’re next!”. A while later a government vessel passed close by its crew shouting threatening obscenities at Michael and his sixteen year old sister. Warning shots were fired across the bow of the boat and it raced away towards the UK.
Since Roy was still a British citizen a summons was issued under the fire arms act and on the 25th of November 1968. Roy and Michael were in the dock of the Crown court of Chelmsford assizes in Essex. There was much argument and laws going back to the 17th century were called upon. During his summing up the judge said “This is a swash buckling incident perhaps more akin to the time of “Sir Francis Drake” but it is my judgment is that the UK courts have no jurisdiction.” This was Sealand’s first de facto recognition.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Burning Issue - Zero hour contracts

Tim Aker, left, Polly Billington, centre and Jackie Doyle-Price MP

Jackie Doyle Price, Conservative MP
THE only people who have ever raised zero-hours contracts with me are people who fear they may lose their jobs because of Labour’s campaign against them.

Let’s be clear, for many people these contracts work. For working mums who want the flexibility of arranging their work around the school day and school holidays, they are a great way of ensuring they can access work. A total of 693,000 people rely on these contracts, and for most, it suits them.
And for businesses which have variable demands on thier work, it enables them to take contracts that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to deliver.
Where zero-hours contracts are abused by employers, we will take action, but Labour should not pretend that all the new jobs created are zero-hours. They are not. Far from it. We have more people in work than ever before and that is a real achievement.

Tim Aker, UKIP candidate
BRITISH workers have been badly let down by the Labour Party that no longer represents them.
Mass open-door immigration has led to a situation where bosses have an unlimited supply of unskilled foreign labour.
This has meant falling wages for British workers, less job security with an increase in zero-hours contracts, fewer hours and in many cases the minimum wage becoming the maximum wage.
This goes right to the top – 36 Labour MPs employed staff on zero-hours contracts in 2014.
Ukip wants strong border controls and to put the British people first so they can have secure, well-paid jobs before we open the door to the rest of the world.

Polly Billington, Labour candidate
LABOUR will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts. If you work regular hours, then you should have a regular contract.
Labour will change the law so this is the case. It’s basic job security people should have.
Zero hours might be OK for a college student doing the odd bar shift, but I’ve spoken to too many people who struggle to make ends meet on zero hours. Not only is it hard to plan the household budget week to week, but impossible to start saving for bigger things like a home.
There are now 1.4 million people on zeros-hours contracts in Britain. People can’t get enough hours to make ends meet.
Some people work in Tilbury docks and take home only £350 a month because they depend on agency work.
Families cannot live on zero-hours contracts. If I was Thurrock’sMP, I’d take on exploitative employers.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Kiel Canal Gate Severely Damaged in Ship Collision [Incident Video]

Damage to the floodgate, March 20, 2015.
Damage to the floodgate, March 20, 2015.
A major blow for shipping through Germany’s Kiel Canal today after a cargo ship crashed into a floodgate as it entered the lock chamber of the Canal at Brunsb├╝ttel, causing extensive damage that is likely to take weeks to repair.
The video below shows the moment of impact as the freighter crashed into the gate.
The ship is the Cypriot-flagged MV Saint George, a 131-meter general cargo ship. The vessel sustained damage to its bow. The bulbous bow of the vessel is believed to have pierced completely through the gate.
The accident is the third such incident in recent months at the Kiel Canal, according to local media reports. Last November, a UK-flagged cargo ship struck a lock gate at the north end of the Kiel Canal resulting the entire gate needing to be replaced.
The Kiel Canal, or Nord-Ostsee-Kanal as it is known is Germany, is a 61-mile long waterway stretching from the North Sea at Brunsbuttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. It is described as “the world’s busiest artificial waterway”.