Home > Current Affairs > Ode to a suppressant. Or, “Why a colocation facility parked in the ocean still needs fire extinguishers…”

Ode to a suppressant. Or, “Why a colocation facility parked in the ocean still needs fire extinguishers…”

It just goes to show you that even on an old anti-aircraft gunnery tower cum colocation facility squatting squarely in the middle of the ocean, you still need to master the basics of risk management — or at least buy insurance…I swear this was on the CISSP exam.

I remember reading about HavenCo a couple of years ago when the debates were raging about the offshore hosting and colocation of, er, interesting commercial interests were raging. 

HavenCo is was an Internet-connected hosting and colocation facility located on (in) the principality of Sealand which prides itself as being known as the world’s smallest soverign territory.  I thought that claim actually belonged to Cleveland, Ohio.  Oh well.

As it plays out, HavenCo is perched atop a structure which amasses said principality and is located 6 miles off the coast of Britain.  It was previously known as "Roughs Tower," an island fortress (anti-aircraft battery tower, actually) created in World War II by the British and ultimately "…surrendered/abandoned to the jurisdiction of the High Seas."  You can read about Sealand.  It’s a really trippy concept.  Read the history and fast forward to the tenants who are the featured element of this story…

If you’re interested in the guts of the place, check this out.  At least you know they have a toilet.

From HavenCo’s FAQ, you can clearly see that they pride themselves on providing the utmost service for their customers:

What makes HavenCo the best secure colocation facility?

  • Unsurpassed physical security from the world, including government
    subpoenas and search and seizures of equipment and data.
  • Redundancy and Reliability
  • Quality – 3 milliseconds from The City of London.

  • Tamper resistance – Our standard machines come with encrypted disk for
    user data partitions. We will deploy FIPS 140-1 Level 4 coprocessors, the
    highest security anyone has ever achieved, and offsite unlock codes.

It seems that the only thing missing was a fire extinguisher as HavenCo apparently burst into flame yesterday when a generator caught fire.  From EADT:

A FORMER wartime fortress which is now a self-proclaimed independent state has been left devastated after a fierce blaze tore through the structure.

The so-called Principality of Sealand, seven miles off the coast of Felixstowe and Harwich, was evacuated at lunchtime yesterdayafter a generator caught fire.

Thames Coastguard, Harwich RNLI lifeboat, Felixstowe Coastguard rescue teams, firefighting tug Brightwell, the RAF rescue helicopter from Wattisham and 15 Suffolk based firefighters from the National Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) were all called into action to tackle the blaze.

One man, believed to be a security guard, was airlifted from the scene and taken to Ipswich Hospital with smoke inhalation but no one else was on the Second World War gun emplacement.

“There have been a number of explosions on board as the fire has engulfed gas bottles and batteries. Only one person was on Sealand at the time, whom we understand to be a watchman whose job was to maintain the generators and equipment.

Horrible, really.  Especially when you realize that the royal family don’t appear to think that fire insurance is a necessary risk management utility.

I seem to recall reading stories of a nitrogen-filled data center to provide either anti-aging capabilities for the inhabitants (Sealand’s "rulers" are royals, after all…and we know how strange they can be) or supress fire due to the absence of oxygen. 

Oh well, dashed are my hopes of starting my own off-shore casino.  Perhaps I should consider speculative real estate.  Seems Sealand’s having a fire sale.


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  1. August 20th, 2006 at 03:13 | #1

    Hi There,
    Sealand is actually having a fire sale, we are selling a number of unique souveniers of the fire. There were fire extinguishers in place however the fire just grew too quickly to be handled. As for the offshore casino, work is currently underway (see website or wait to see it on the BBC) and entertainment facilities should be open by December.
    Chris Harrington
    Church and East

  2. March 12th, 2007 at 09:00 | #2

    The tax base probably wouldnt support a fire department anyway

  3. Poorousia
    July 15th, 2011 at 17:55 | #3

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