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Sealand on Fire - Part 2

Part 2 of the 3 part series of the Sealand Fire

Continue here or go straight to more post fire pictures in Sealand Fire - Part 3

Pictures of reclaiming of Sealand after the crew had been airlifted off having done all they could to contain the fire which had broken out on Friday 23 June 2006

Sealand from the air post fire

Sealand 'post fire' from the air

Sealand Roughs Tower from the South West

Approaching Sealand from the south west the steel skeleton of the burnt out generator house & deck damage clearly visible

Announcement of Sealand Fire by BBC Essex @ 15.00 Friday 23rd June 2006

James Bates scales Sealand # 1

19 year old James Bates of Sealand bravely climbing the roof ladder that is barely hooked on to the girder above

James Bates scales Sealand # 2

James climbing up & over the forts edge to start the diesel hydraulic winch that was undamaged to haul the relief crew aboard

James Bates Sealand Reboarded

Giving a victory wave whilst on a mobile telephone to his Grandfather Roy of Sealand now retired to Spain, letting him know he had reclaimed the fort island for him

James & Liam Bates Survey Damage

Liam & James Bates of Sealand survey the burnt out wrecked generator room

In between the 2 burnt out Gardner 180 generators the A/C converter which is normally coupled to the Perkins, which luckily escaped destruction being on the mainland undergoing a major rebuild

In background numerous 40 gallon oil drums the metal gages of the diesel fuel carboys

The boys proved to be "Chips off the old block" Roy had scaled the Knock John to take possession in 1965 in a tussle for possession of the fort

Their father Prince Michael aged just 14 stood by the Roughs Tower 13 months later after Radio Essex had been outlawed

Our Documentary Radio City 2 has the full story, it's available from the Offshore Shop

For over 24 hours mostly alone he stood by the fort on the tender as the Radio Essex equipment & crew took over the fort in December 1966

Remains of wrecked Gardner 180 generator

Charred remains of one of the two wrecked Gardner 180 Generators

Kitchen & general appliances drying out

Beneath the crane Galley appliances drying out in the warm July sunshine

State Office & Communications Room

The burnt out communications room & State office

Comment from Sealand Security Guard on making entry to inside the Row: "I had to shoulder my way in through the doors of the galley & living quarters, as the water jets from the fire tender that came out the previous Friday not only put the fire out but flooded the place & rammed a lot of the loose furniture against the heavy metal doors"

Looking Down Southern Leg Lift Shaft

Looking down the lift shaft of the southern leg showing the flooded bottom level G (7)

The south & north leg now pumped dry

Continues with more post fire pictures in Sealand Fire - Part 3


The following freely expressed opinions are not necessarily those of the site publishers

I don't know why Sealand has always generated so much publicity in offshore radio circles, because Sealand has never broadcast a single thing & does not belong on offshore radio pages. Bates is just an old eccentric nutter with big ideas who once broadcast on Radio Essex, a poorly heard setup that appealed to the few that could hear it. Yet from this he has managed to generate publicity for years about his nutty schemes, & offshore publications have lapped it up & wasted print & stories like he belongs in the hall of famous offshore radio stations. What Bates probably did is stop others getting on there who just might have used it as an offshore radio base. So King Nutter & his brood should be seen for what they are, and not given the publicity they crave - Johnny Radioman 1952

Sealand is the last bastion for free speech without government interference, * whilst it hasn't broadcast commercial radio, it has a tangible link with the first radio pirates, this has proved to many to be interesting

We Brits like the unconventional & in many ways enjoy seeing the underdog survive against all odds, living on a fort or even ship for long periods has always proved a fascinating

When Roy Bates put took the Knock John Fort from Radio City, despite enormous odds Radio Essex managed to survive with little income for 13 months. After being outlawed he & the crew stayed out there by moving over to Roughs Tower so there's a definite final pirate radio link

Whilst Sealand & all its controversy has caused a stir they've managed to occupy Roughs ever since

* Not yet covered but radio did on two occasions nearly launch from the fort - Ed

Roy Bates went to Roughs after the forts had been outlawed. It wouldn't have been feasible to kick off radio again, the fort being only 6nm (7) miles off the coast. Roughs could easily have been drawn inside territorial waters as they did with Knock, Red, & Shivering Sand Forts

Sunk Head being well outside the then limit at 9.75 (11+) miles & even though in a very poor condition & flooded at its lower levels would have been the next fort to be occupied. But the British Government wanted to deter would be pirates & rumored smuggling activities they blew up - Cameron

Roy Bates unconventional, off beat, even eccentric aren't these the traits the British admire? - A Kerr

The idea of an in dependant fort country wasn't actually Roy Bates, it was muted by one of his chaps long before Radio Essex had closed down but at the time disregarded. It wasn't until the Knock John was brought within British territorial waters & the Roughs Tower had been taken over the idea was given merit - PJ

Grateful thanks to the Harwich Lifeboat Station : amarkfell : Evening Star : EADT 24 : BBC Look East : BBC Essex : the Register Chris Harrington & Bill Rollins for providing pictures, clips & information for this feature

Special thanks to The Principality of Sealand & to Prince Michael of Sealand for the first hand reports & photographs

BBC Essex plan to broadcast live reports at 11.00 & 17.00 BST on Saturday 1st July

For the Principality of Sealand Media Statements see Report 1 & Report 2

Thanks also to Martin van Der Ven of Offshore Radio Guide for the use of his screen pictures

For pictures of how Sealand looked before the fire navigate from Sealand One

A limited edition VCD to play on your DVD player is available with over 150 photographs & soundtrack tour of the whole of the Sealand fort with its history at £9.99

To order your copy go to Offshore Shop

Article & DVD sanctioned & approved for release by Prince Michael of Sealand

For a brief history of all the Thames Estuary Sea Forts see Fort Fax

[HOME] (c)Bob Le-Roi 2006