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Seasteading – Wikipedia

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. The term is a combination of the words sea and homesteading.. Seasteaders say such autonomous floating cities would foster faster development of techniques “to feed the hungry, cure the sick, clean the atmosphere and enrich the poor”.

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Seasteading – Wikipedia

The Problem with Seasteading | Bottom-up

I first wrote about seasteading two years ago, shortly after the Seasteading Institute launched. The brainchild of Patri Friedman (grandson of Milton) and others, seasteading is a program for political reform based on a proliferation of self-governing ocean colonies. As I described it in 2008:

A key advantage of seasteads is what Friedman calls dynamic geography, the fact that any given seasteading unit is free to join or leave larger units within seasteading communities. Seasteading platforms would likely band together to provide common services like police protection, but with the key difference that any platform that was dissatisfied with the value it was receiving from such jurisdictions could leave them at any time. [Friedman] argues that this would move power downward, giving smaller units within society greater leverage to ensure the interests of their members are being served.

Seasteading is based on a delightfully bottom-up argument: that the problem with government is the lack of choice. If I dont like my job, my apartment, or my grocery store, I can easily pick up and go somewhere else. The threat of exit induces employers, landlords, and store owners, and the like to treat us well without a lot of top-down oversight. In contrast, switching governments is hard, so governments treat us poorly. Seasteaders aim to change that.

The pragmatic incrementalism of seasteading is also appealing. Friedman doesnt have to foment a revolution, or even win an election, to give seasteading a try. If he can just a few hundred people of the merits of his ideas, they can go try it without needing assistance or support from the rest of us. If the experiment fails, the cost is relatively small.

Yet seasteading is a deeply flawed project. In particular, the theory of dynamic geography is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationships among mobility, wealth creation, and government power. In a real-world seasteading community, powerful economic forces would cripple dynamic geography and leave seasteaders no freer than the rest of us.

To see the problem, imagine if someone developed the technology to transform my apartment building in Manhattan into a floating platform. Its owners could, at any time, float us out into the Hudson river and move to another state or country. Would they do it? Obviously not. They have hundreds of tenants who are paying good money to live in Manhattan. Wed be furious if we woke up one morning and found ourselves off the coast of South Carolina. Things get more, not less, difficult at larger scales. Imagine if Long Island (which includes the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and a lot of suburbs) were a huge ocean-going vessel. The residents of Long Island would overwhelmingly oppose moving; most of them have jobs, friends, familiy, churches, favorite restaurants, and other connections to the rest of the New York metro area. The value of being adjacent to Manhattan swamps whatever benefits there might be to being part of a state with lower taxes or better regulations.

Successful cities need a variety of infrastructureroads, electricity, network connectivity, water and sewer lines, and so forth. At small scales you could probably design this infrastructure to be completely modular. But that approach doesnt scale; at some point you need expensive fixed infrastructuremulti-lane highways, bridges, water mains, subway lines, power plantsthat only make economic sense if built on a geographically stable foundation. Such infrastructure wouldnt be feasible in a dynamic city, and without such infrastructure its hard to imagine a city of even modest size being viable.

I think the seasteaders response to this is that the advantages of increased liberty would be so large that people would be willing to deal with the inconveniences necessary to preserve dynamic geography. But heres the thing: The question of whether the advantages of freedom (in the leave me alone sense) outweigh the benefits of living in large urban areas is not a theoretical one. If all you care about is avoiding the long arm of the law, thats actually pretty easy to do. Buy a cabin in the woods in Wyoming and the government will pretty much leave you alone. Pick a job that allows you to deal in cash and you can probably get away without filing a tax return. In reality, hardly anyone does this. To the contrary, people have been leaving rural areas for high-tax, high-regulation cities for decades.

Almost no ones goal in life is to maximize their liberty in this abstract sense. Rather, liberty is valuable because it enables us to achieve other goals, like raising a family, having a successful career, making friends, and so forth. To achieve those kinds of goals, you pretty much have to live near other people, conform to social norms, and make long-term investments. And people who live close together for long periods of time need a system of mechanisms for resolving disputes, which is to say they need a government.

The power of governments rests not on the immobility of real estate, but from the fact that people want to form durable relationships with other people. The residents of a seastead city would be no more enthusiastic about dynamic geopgrahy than the residents of Brooklyn. Which means that the government of the city would have the same kind of power Mayor Bloomberg has. Indeed, it would likely have more power, because the seastead city wouldnt have New Jersey a few hundred yards away ready to take disaffected residents.

Originally posted here:

The Problem with Seasteading | Bottom-up

About | The Seasteading Institute

Seasteaders are a diverse global team of marine biologists, nautical engineers, aquaculture farmers, maritime attorneys, medical researchers, security personnel, investors, environmentalists, and artists. We plan to build seasteads to host profitable aquaculture farms, floating healthcare, medical research islands, and sustainable energy powerhouses. Our goal is to maximize entrepreneurial freedom to create blue jobs to welcome anyone to the Next New World.

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About | The Seasteading Institute

Seasteading – Wikipedia

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. The term is a combination of the words sea and homesteading.

Seasteaders say such autonomous floating cities would foster faster development of techniques “to feed the hungry, cure the sick, clean the atmosphere and enrich the poor”.[1][2] Some critics fear seasteads are designed more as a refuge for the wealthy to avoid taxes or other problems.[3][4]

No one has yet created a structure on the high seas that has been recognized as a sovereign state. Proposed structures have included modified cruise ships, refitted oil platforms, decommissioned anti-aircraft platforms, and custom-built floating islands.[5]

As an intermediate step, the Seasteading Institute has promoted cooperation with an existing nation on prototype floating islands with legal semi-autonomy within the nation’s protected territorial waters. On January 13, 2017, the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with French Polynesia to create the first semi-autonomous “seazone” for a prototype[6][7], but as of 2019 its status was uncertain.

Many architects and firms have created designs for floating cities, including Vincent Callebaut,[8][9] Paolo Soleri[10] and companies such as Shimizu and E. Kevin Schopfer.[11]

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, and his executive leadership became a maritime-based community named the Sea Organization (Sea Org). Beginning in 1967 with a complement of four ships, the Sea Org spent most of its existence on the high seas, visiting ports around the world for refueling and resupply. In 1975 much of these operations were shifted to land-based locations.

Marshall Savage discussed building tethered artificial islands in his 1992 book The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, with several color plates illustrating his ideas.

Other historical predecessors and inspirations for seasteading include:

At least two people independently coined the term seasteading: Ken Neumeyer in his book Sailing the Farm (1981) and Wayne Gramlich in his article “Seasteading Homesteading on the High Seas” (1998).[13]

Gramlichs essay attracted the attention of Patri Friedman.[14] The two began working together and posted their first collaborative book online in 2001.[15] Their book explored many aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience. This collaboration led to the creation of the non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI) in 2008.

In March 2019, a group called Ocean Builders claimed to have built the first seastead in International Waters, off the coast of the Thai island of Phuket[16]. Thai Navy officials have charged them of violating Thai Sovereignty.[17]

On April 15, 2008, Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI), an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters.[18][19][20]

Friedman and Gramlich noted that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370km) from shore. Beyond that boundary lie the high seas, which are not subject to the laws of any sovereign state other than the flag under which a ship sails. They proposed that a seastead could take advantage of the absence of laws and regulations outside the sovereignty of nations to experiment with new governance systems, and allow the citizens of existing governments to exit more easily.

“When seasteading becomes a viable alternative, switching from one government to another would be a matter of sailing to the other without even leaving your house,” said Patri Friedman at the first annual Seasteading conference.[18][21][22]

The Seasteading Institute (TSI) focused on three areas: building a community, doing research, and building the first seastead in the San Francisco Bay. [23]

The project picked up mainstream exposure after having been brought to the attention of PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. Thiel donated $500,000 in initial seed capital to start The Seasteading Institute, and has contributed $1.7 million [24] in total to date. He also spoke out on behalf of its viability in his essay “The Education of a Libertarian”.[25]

As a result of Thiel’s backing, TSI received widespread media attention from a variety of sources including [26] The Economist[20] Business Insider,[27] and BBC.[28][29]

In 2008, Friedman and Gramlich had hoped to float the first prototype seastead in the San Francisco Bay by 2010[30][31] Plans were to launch a seastead by 2014,[32] and TSI projected that the seasteading population would exceed 150 individuals in 2015.[33] TSI did not meet these targets.

In January 2009, the Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort seastead, ClubStead, about a city block in size, produced by consultancy firm Marine Innovation & Technology. The ClubStead design marked the first major engineering analysis in the seasteading movement.[20][34][35]

In the spring of 2013,[36] TSI launched The Floating City Project.[37] The project proposed to locate a floating city within the territorial waters of an existing nation, rather than the open ocean.[38] TSI claimed that doing so would have several advantages:

In October 2013, the Institute raised $27,082 from 291 funders in a crowdfunding campaign[39] TSI used the funds to hire the Dutch marine engineering firm DeltaSync[40] to write an engineering study for The Floating City Project.

In September 2016 the Seasteading Institute met with officials in French Polynesia[41] to discuss building a prototype seastead in a sheltered lagoon. Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery was the first to invite The Seasteading Institute to meet with government officials.The meeting was arranged by Former Minister of Tourism, Marc Collins.[42]

On January 13, 2017, French Polynesia Minister of Housing, Jean-Christophe Bouissou signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TSI to create the first semi-autonomous “seazone”. TSI spun off a for-profit company called “Blue Frontiers”, which will build and operate a prototype seastead in the zone.[43] The prototype will be based on a design by marine engineering firm Blue 21.[6][7]

On March 3, 2018, a mayor from French Polynesia said the agreement was “not a legal document” and had expired at the end of 2017 in response to a challenger trying to make it an issue for the May, 2018 elections.[44]

In May, 2018 Blue Frontiers began raising funds through a cryptographic token to prepare for building in the Sea Zone when the French Polynesian government passes the SeaZone act. [45]

Cruise ships are a proven technology, and address most of the challenges of living at sea for extended periods of time. However, they’re typically optimized for travel and short-term stay, not for permanent residence in a single location.

Examples:

Platform designs based on spar buoys, similar to oil platforms.[48] In this design, the platforms rest on spars in the shape of floating dumbbells, with the living area high above sea level. Building on spars in this fashion reduces the influence of wave action on the structure.[34]

Examples:

There are numerous seastead designs based around interlocking modules made of reinforced concrete.[50] Reinforced concrete is used for floating docks, oil platforms, dams, and other marine structures.

Examples:

A single, monolithic structure that is not intended to be expanded or connected to other modules.

Examples:

The SeaOrbiter is an oceangoing research vessel designed to give scientists and others a residential yet mobile research station. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines. It is headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien. The cost is expected to be around $52.7 million.[55]

Blueseed was a company aiming to float a ship near Silicon Valley to serve as a visa-free startup community and entrepreneurial incubator. Blueseed founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija met when both were employees of The Seasteading Institute. The project planned to offer living and office space, high-speed Internet connectivity, and regular ferry service to the mainland[56][46] but as of 2014 the project was “on hold”.[57][56][46]

Criticisms have been leveled at both the practicality and desirability of seasteading. These can be broken down into governmental, logistical, and societal categories.

Critics believe that creating governance structures from scratch is a lot harder than it seems.[58] Also, seasteads would still be at risk of political interference from nation states.[20]

On a logistical level, seasteads could be too remote and uncomfortable (without access to culture, restaurants, shopping) to be attractive to potential residents.[20] Building seasteads to withstand the rigors of the open ocean may prove uneconomical.[58][20]

Seastead structures may blight ocean views, their industry or farming may deplete their environments, and their waste may pollute surrounding waters. Some critics believe that seasteads will exploit both residents and the nearby population.[58] Others fear that seasteads will mainly allow wealthy individuals to escape taxes,[3] or to harm mainstream society by ignoring other financial, environmental, and labor regulations.[3][58]

The Seasteading Institute held its first conference in Burlingame, California, October 10, 2008. Forty-five people from nine countries attended.[59]The second Seasteading conference was significantly larger, and held in San Francisco, California, September 2830, 2009.[60][61]The third Seasteading conference took place May 31 June 2, 2012.[62]

Seasteading has been imagined many times in fictional works.

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Seasteading – Wikipedia

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty

BANGKOK (AP) Thai authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the seasteading movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nations laws.

Thailands navy said Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet endangered national sovereignty, an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death.

It filed a complaint against them with police on the southern resort island of Phuket. Thai authorities said they have revoked Elwartowskis visa.

Elwartowski said in an email Thursday that he believes he and Supranee also known as Nadia Summergirl did nothing wrong.

This is ridiculous, he said in an earlier statement posted online. We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed.

The couple, who have gone into hiding, had been living part-time on a small structure they said was anchored outside Thailands territorial waters, just over 12 nautical miles from shore. They were not there when the navy carried out their raid on Saturday.

The Thai deputy naval commander responsible for the area said the project was a challenge to the countrys authorities.

This affects our national security and cannot be allowed, Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media on Tuesday. He said the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane.

Seasteading has had a revival in recent years as libertarian ideas of living free from state interference such as by using crypto-currency including Bitcoin have become more popular, including among influential Silicon Valley figures such as entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Elwartowski, an IT specialist, has been involved in Bitcoin since 2010.

Several larger-scale projects are under development, but some in the seasteading community have credited the Andaman Sea house with being the first modern implementation of seasteading.

The first thing to do is whatever I can to help Chad & Nadia, because living on a weird self-built structure and dreaming of future sovereignty should be considered harmless eccentricities, not major crimes, Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who heads The Seasteading Institute, said on his Facebook page.

The floating two-story octagonal house at the center of the controversy had been profiled and promoted online by a group called Ocean Builders, which touted it as a pilot project and sought to sell additional units.

The group describes itself as a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and are willing to put the hard work and effort forward to see that it happens.

In online statements, both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the couple merely promoted and lived on the structure, and did not fund, design, build or set the location for it.

I was volunteering for the project promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform, Elwartowski told The Associated Press.

Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared, Elwartowski said. We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.

Asked his next step, he was more optimistic.

I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government, he said.

___

Associated Press journalist Tassanee Vejpongsa contributed to this report.

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Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty

Floating Island Project | The Seasteading Institute

On January 13, 2017, we entered Phase 3 of the Floating City Project, now called the Floating Island Project. On that day, delegates from the government of French Polynesia travelled to San Francisco to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with us agreeing to cooperate on developing legislation for The Floating Island Project by the end of 2017.

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Floating Island Project | The Seasteading Institute

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty …

Thai authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the “seasteading” movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nation’s laws.

Thailand’s navy said Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet endangered national sovereignty, an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death.

It filed a complaint against them with police on the southern resort island of Phuket. Thai authorities said they have revoked Elwartowski’s visa.

Elwartowski said in an email Thursday that he believes he and Supranee also known as Nadia Summergirl did nothing wrong.

“This is ridiculous,” he said in an earlier statement posted online. “We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed.”

The couple, who have gone into hiding, had been living part-time on a small structure they said was anchored outside Thailand’s territorial waters, just over 12 nautical miles from shore. They were not there when the navy carried out their raid on Saturday.

The Thai deputy naval commander responsible for the area said the project was a challenge to the country’s authorities.

“This affects our national security and cannot be allowed,” Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media on Tuesday. He said the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane.

Seasteading has had a revival in recent years as libertarian ideas of living free from state interference such as by using crypto-currency including Bitcoin have become more popular, including among influential Silicon Valley figures such as entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Elwartowski, an IT specialist, has been involved in Bitcoin since 2010.

Several larger-scale projects are under development, but some in the seasteading community have credited the Andaman Sea house with being the first modern implementation of seasteading.

“The first thing to do is whatever I can to help Chad & Nadia, because living on a weird self-built structure and dreaming of future sovereignty should be considered harmless eccentricities, not major crimes,” Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who heads The Seasteading Institute, said on his Facebook page.

The floating two-story octagonal house at the center of the controversy had been profiled and promoted online by a group called Ocean Builders, which touted it as a pilot project and sought to sell additional units.

The group describes itself as “a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and are willing to put the hard work and effort forward to see that it happens.”

In online statements, both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the couple merely promoted and lived on the structure, and did not fund, design, build or set the location for it.

“I was volunteering for the project promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform,” Elwartowski told The Associated Press.

“Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared,” Elwartowski said. “We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.”

Asked his next step, he was more optimistic.

“I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government,” he said.

Associated Press journalist Tassanee Vejpongsa contributed to this report.

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Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty …

Seasteading bitcoin couple charged with violating Thai …

Posted April 21, 2019 14:16:17

The Thai navy has boarded the floating cabin of a fugitive couple who are prominent members of the “seasteading” movement and may face the death sentence for setting up their offshore home.

Thai authorities have revoked the visa of bitcoin trader Chad Elwartowski and charged him and his partner, Supranee Thepdet, with violating Thai sovereignty by floating the cabin 14 nautical miles off the west coast of the Thai island of Phuket.

The cabin had been promoted as the world’s first seastead by the group Ocean Builders, part of a movement to build floating communities beyond the bounds of nations as a way to explore alternative societies and governments.

“I was free for a moment. Probably the freest person in the world,” Mr Elwartowski posted on Facebook on April 13, days before the Thai navy raided his vessel.

The 46-year-old and Ms Supranee, whose Facebook page describes her as a “Bitcoin expert, trader, chef, seastead pioneer”, were not on board when the navy boarded, having apparently fled after a surveillance plane flew overhead the previous day.

The US embassy in Bangkok said Mr Elwartowski had engaged a lawyer and was being provided with appropriate assistance.

The Royal Thai Navy had planned on Saturday to seize the structure and tow it back to shore for use as evidence.

In a video posted last month detailing the construction of the floating home, Mr Elwartowski said 20 more similar homes would be up for sale to form a community.

Mr Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the vessel was in international waters and beyond Thailand’s jurisdiction, but Thai authorities said the structure was in its exclusive economic zone and therefore a violation of its sovereignty.

A Thai navy task force inspected the floating home on Saturday as it prepared to tow the structure back to Phuket.

“We will invite technical units and officials who have inspected the object to consult on the methods of towing to minimise damage,” Captain Puchong Rodnikorn, chief of staff of the Operations Squadron of the Third Naval Area Command, said.

“Once the sea house reaches the shore, the owner of this house can come to inspect it, as well as come forward to the Thai authorities in order to prove themselves in the legal process.”

The navy said it had evidence the floating home was built in a private boatyard in Phuket and the couple wanted to establish a “permanent settlement at sea beyond the sovereignty of nations by using a legal loophole”.

It said the action “reveals the intention of disobeying the laws of Thailand and could lead to a creation of a new state within Thailand’s territorial waters”, adding this would undermine Thailand’s national security as well as the economic and social interests of maritime nations.

Mr Elwartowski referred all questions to the Seasteading Institute and pointed to online statements from the Ocean Builders website in response to questions over the charges.

Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee are members of Ocean Builders, which has denied they were planning to set up an independent state or “micronation”.

The group said the pair did not build, invest in or design the floating home themselves, but were “volunteers excited about the prospect of living free”.

According to Ocean Builders, the concept of seasteading has been discussed for years, but the cabin Mr Elwartowski and Ms Supranee lived on was the first attempt at living in what it described as international waters.

Other groups, such as the Seasteading Institute, which was originally backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, have sought to build floating cities with the cooperation of host nations.

Reuters

Topics:law-crime-and-justice,community-and-society,currency,thailand

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Seasteading bitcoin couple charged with violating Thai …

Bitcoin Couple’s Seastead Dreams Sunk by Thai Navy

By CCN: The Thai Navy has dismantled the floating sea cabin of U.S. bitcoin investor and seasteading advocate Chad Elwartowski. His Thai girlfriend Supranee Thepdet was living with him in the seastead. The Thai Navy boarded the boat over the weekend and returned its pieces to shore in three boats. The Thai government plans to use the dismantled floating home as evidence in a case against Elwartowsi and Thepdet.

The two are on the run and have engaged the U.S. embassy. The couple says that the Royal Thai Government is pressing to have them tried and killed for violating the Southeast Asian countrys national sovereignty. Its a crime that carries the death penalty in Thailand. Luckily, when the authorities moved to seize the vessel, the two had fled; Elwartowski had spotted a surveillance plane flying overhead the day before.

Although the government of Thailand maintains the seasteaders violated its national sovereignty, the couple most certainly did not. They did not engage in sedition against the government. They did not attempt to overthrow it, nor did they encourage anyone to break its laws. They simply chose to peacefully withdraw from its territory.

In the style of historys millions of homesteaders who left their countries and built something for themselves in unexplored and unsettled lands, this couple is a pair of explorers and pioneers. They are obviously not criminals.

In a statement released Monday, Patri Friedman,the chairman of the Seasteading Institute, urged compassion for the pair. Friedman insists their actions were no threat to Thai sovereignty.

The Thai governments response to the seasteading couple has sent shock waves throughout the international community and media. These events have likely spurred the most mainstream media coverage that the burgeoning seasteading movement has ever received. It is unfortunate that this publicity has come at so great and unfair a personal cost to two of the movements pioneers.

Seasteaders seek to settle humanitys next frontier this planets vast and abundant oceans.

The seasteading movement received a huge boost in 2008 when billionaire libertarian and tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel invested nearly $2 million in the Seasteading Institute. The rise of seasteading certainly introduces questions about national and individual sovereignty, but these challenges should be met with reason and understanding by the worlds sovereign states, not naked aggression.

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Bitcoin Couple’s Seastead Dreams Sunk by Thai Navy

Michigan man faces death penalty in Thailand for building …

A Michigan man is on the run and hiding from Thailand police as he and his girlfriend are wanted by the Thai government for violating that countrys sovereignty by building a floating home off the nations coast.

According to the Associated Press, Chad Elwartowski and his girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet, – also known as Nadia Summergirl – have been charged by the Thailand Navy after they had been living on a small floating house anchored outside Thailands territorial waters. The seasteading home was approximately 12 nautical miles from shore.

Seasteading is a movement popular among those who wish to live free from the laws of countries by living in international waters. Elwartowski was living in a home built by a company known as Ocean Builders, which also picked the location.

I was volunteering for the project, promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform, Elwartowski told the AP.

The company hoped to use the first house as proof that it worked and to sell more units based on that success.

However, Thailand officials say Elwartowskis home threatened national security.

Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media last week the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane, the AP reports.

Elwartowski has documented part of the issue on his Facebook page, saying he did nothing wrong and asking for help. However, those pages have been removed. Elwartowski spoke with the AP last week about the issue.

Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared, Elwartowski said. We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.

He went on to say he hopes his lawyer can hash out an agreement with the Thai government.

Elwartwoski graduated from Tecumseh High School in Tecumseh, MI and attended Michigan State University. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, one of Elwartowksis sisters said her brother made a significant amount of money by being an early investor in Bitcoin.

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Michigan man faces death penalty in Thailand for building …

Seasteading – Wikipedia

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. The term is a combination of the words sea and homesteading.

Seasteaders say such autonomous floating cities would foster faster development of techniques “to feed the hungry, cure the sick, clean the atmosphere and enrich the poor”.[1][2] Some critics fear seasteads are designed more as a refuge for the wealthy to avoid taxes or other problems.[3][4]

No one has yet created a structure on the high seas that has been recognized as a sovereign state. Proposed structures have included modified cruise ships, refitted oil platforms, decommissioned anti-aircraft platforms, and custom-built floating islands.[5]

As an intermediate step, the Seasteading Institute has promoted cooperation with an existing nation on prototype floating islands with legal semi-autonomy within the nation’s protected territorial waters. On January 13, 2017, the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with French Polynesia to create the first semi-autonomous “seazone” for a prototype[6][7], but as of 2019 its status was uncertain.

Many architects and firms have created designs for floating cities, including Vincent Callebaut,[8][9] Paolo Soleri[10] and companies such as Shimizu and E. Kevin Schopfer.[11]

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, and his executive leadership became a maritime-based community named the Sea Organization (Sea Org). Beginning in 1967 with a complement of four ships, the Sea Org spent most of its existence on the high seas, visiting ports around the world for refueling and resupply. In 1975 much of these operations were shifted to land-based locations.

Marshall Savage discussed building tethered artificial islands in his 1992 book The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, with several color plates illustrating his ideas.

Other historical predecessors and inspirations for seasteading include:

At least two people independently coined the term seasteading: Ken Neumeyer in his book Sailing the Farm (1981) and Wayne Gramlich in his article “Seasteading Homesteading on the High Seas” (1998).[13]

Gramlichs essay attracted the attention of Patri Friedman.[14] The two began working together and posted their first collaborative book online in 2001.[15] Their book explored many aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience. This collaboration led to the creation of the non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI) in 2008.

On April 15, 2008, Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI), an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters.[16][17][18]

Friedman and Gramlich noted that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370km) from shore. Beyond that boundary lie the high seas, which are not subject to the laws of any sovereign state other than the flag under which a ship sails. They proposed that a seastead could take advantage of the absence of laws and regulations outside the sovereignty of nations to experiment with new governance systems, and allow the citizens of existing governments to exit more easily.

“When seasteading becomes a viable alternative, switching from one government to another would be a matter of sailing to the other without even leaving your house,” said Patri Friedman at the first annual Seasteading conference.[16][19][20]

The Seasteading Institute (TSI) focused on three areas: building a community, doing research, and building the first seastead in the San Francisco Bay. [21]

The project picked up mainstream exposure after having been brought to the attention of PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. Thiel donated $500,000 in initial seed capital to start The Seasteading Institute, and has contributed $1.7 million [22] in total to date. He also spoke out on behalf of its viability in his essay “The Education of a Libertarian”.[23]

As a result of Thiel’s backing, TSI received widespread media attention from a variety of sources including [24] The Economist[18] Business Insider,[25] and BBC.[26][27]

In 2008, Friedman and Gramlich had hoped to float the first prototype seastead in the San Francisco Bay by 2010[28][29] Plans were to launch a seastead by 2014,[30] and TSI projected that the seasteading population would exceed 150 individuals in 2015.[31] TSI did not meet these targets.

In January 2009, the Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort seastead, ClubStead, about a city block in size, produced by consultancy firm Marine Innovation & Technology. The ClubStead design marked the first major engineering analysis in the seasteading movement.[18][32][33]

In the spring of 2013,[34] TSI launched The Floating City Project.[35] The project proposed to locate a floating city within the territorial waters of an existing nation, rather than the open ocean.[36] TSI claimed that doing so would have several advantages:

In October 2013, the Institute raised $27,082 from 291 funders in a crowdfunding campaign[37] TSI used the funds to hire the Dutch marine engineering firm DeltaSync[38] to write an engineering study for The Floating City Project.

In September 2016 the Seasteading Institute met with officials in French Polynesia[39] to discuss building a prototype seastead in a sheltered lagoon. Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery was the first to invite The Seasteading Institute to meet with government officials.The meeting was arranged by Former Minister of Tourism, Marc Collins.[40]

On January 13, 2017, French Polynesia Minister of Housing, Jean-Christophe Bouissou signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TSI to create the first semi-autonomous “seazone”. TSI spun off a for-profit company called “Blue Frontiers”, which will build and operate a prototype seastead in the zone.[41] The prototype will be based on a design by marine engineering firm Blue 21.[6][7]

On March 3, 2018, a mayor from French Polynesia said the agreement was “not a legal document” and had expired at the end of 2017 in response to a challenger trying to make it an issue for the May, 2018 elections.[42]

In May, 2018 Blue Frontiers began raising funds through a cryptographic token to prepare for building in the Sea Zone when the French Polynesian government passes the SeaZone act. [43]

Cruise ships are a proven technology, and address most of the challenges of living at sea for extended periods of time. However, they’re typically optimized for travel and short-term stay, not for permanent residence in a single location.

Examples:

Platform designs based on spar buoys, similar to oil platforms.[46] In this design, the platforms rest on spars in the shape of floating dumbbells, with the living area high above sea level. Building on spars in this fashion reduces the influence of wave action on the structure.[32]

Examples:

There are numerous seastead designs based around interlocking modules made of reinforced concrete.[48] Reinforced concrete is used for floating docks, oil platforms, dams, and other marine structures.

Examples:

A single, monolithic structure that is not intended to be expanded or connected to other modules.

Examples:

The SeaOrbiter is an oceangoing research vessel designed to give scientists and others a residential yet mobile research station. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines. It is headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien. The cost is expected to be around $52.7 million.[53]

Blueseed was a company aiming to float a ship near Silicon Valley to serve as a visa-free startup community and entrepreneurial incubator. Blueseed founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija met when both were employees of The Seasteading Institute. The project planned to offer living and office space, high-speed Internet connectivity, and regular ferry service to the mainland[54][44] but as of 2014 the project was “on hold”.[55][54][44]

Criticisms have been leveled at both the practicality and desirability of seasteading. These can be broken down into governmental, logistical, and societal categories.

Critics believe that creating governance structures from scratch is a lot harder than it seems.[56] Also, seasteads would still be at risk of political interference from nation states.[18]

On a logistical level, seasteads could be too remote and uncomfortable (without access to culture, restaurants, shopping) to be attractive to potential residents.[18] Building seasteads to withstand the rigors of the open ocean may prove uneconomical.[56][18]

Seastead structures may blight ocean views, their industry or farming may deplete their environments, and their waste may pollute surrounding waters. Some critics believe that seasteads will exploit both residents and the nearby population.[56] Others fear that seasteads will mainly allow wealthy individuals to escape taxes,[3] or to harm mainstream society by ignoring other financial, environmental, and labor regulations.[3][56]

The Seasteading Institute held its first conference in Burlingame, California, October 10, 2008. Forty-five people from nine countries attended.[57]The second Seasteading conference was significantly larger, and held in San Francisco, California, September 2830, 2009.[58][59]The third Seasteading conference took place May 31 June 2, 2012.[60]

Seasteading has been imagined many times in fictional works.

Read more:

Seasteading – Wikipedia

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty …

Thai authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the “seasteading” movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nation’s laws.

Thailand’s navy said Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet endangered national sovereignty, an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death.

It filed a complaint against them with police on the southern resort island of Phuket. Thai authorities said they have revoked Elwartowski’s visa.

Elwartowski said in an email Thursday that he believes he and Supranee also known as Nadia Summergirl did nothing wrong.

“This is ridiculous,” he said in an earlier statement posted online. “We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed.”

The couple, who have gone into hiding, had been living part-time on a small structure they said was anchored outside Thailand’s territorial waters, just over 12 nautical miles from shore. They were not there when the navy carried out their raid on Saturday.

The Thai deputy naval commander responsible for the area said the project was a challenge to the country’s authorities.

“This affects our national security and cannot be allowed,” Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media on Tuesday. He said the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane.

Seasteading has had a revival in recent years as libertarian ideas of living free from state interference such as by using crypto-currency including Bitcoin have become more popular, including among influential Silicon Valley figures such as entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Elwartowski, an IT specialist, has been involved in Bitcoin since 2010.

Several larger-scale projects are under development, but some in the seasteading community have credited the Andaman Sea house with being the first modern implementation of seasteading.

“The first thing to do is whatever I can to help Chad & Nadia, because living on a weird self-built structure and dreaming of future sovereignty should be considered harmless eccentricities, not major crimes,” Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who heads The Seasteading Institute, said on his Facebook page.

The floating two-story octagonal house at the center of the controversy had been profiled and promoted online by a group called Ocean Builders, which touted it as a pilot project and sought to sell additional units.

The group describes itself as “a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and are willing to put the hard work and effort forward to see that it happens.”

In online statements, both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the couple merely promoted and lived on the structure, and did not fund, design, build or set the location for it.

“I was volunteering for the project promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform,” Elwartowski told The Associated Press.

“Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared,” Elwartowski said. “We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.”

Asked his next step, he was more optimistic.

“I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government,” he said.

Associated Press journalist Tassanee Vejpongsa contributed to this report.

Read the original post:

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty …

Floating Island Project | The Seasteading Institute

The Gulf of Fonseca, bordering three Central American nations, was chosen as a test case for the suitability of the design for protected, territorial waters this location selected was based loosely on the criteria we used for selecting host nations, such as proximity to cities and existing infrastructure, and location within an attractive climate, outside the path of hurricanes. However, site selection for this study should not be interpreted as suggesting that we have an agreement to develop a floating city in the Gulf of Fonseca. In a location like this, DeltaSync reports that the platforms could be completely solar-powered, and that this would in fact be more cost-effective than diesel generation, even including the costs of battery storage and distribution via micro-grid. This concept also assesses a scalable method of financing a breakwater, which could eventually surround the city and allow it to move out to the open ocean. Mobility of the individual modules is key from the perspective of guaranteeing autonomy for the city in the event that the relationship with a particular host nation no longer suits either party, the platforms could detach from their moorings and float to a different location. Modularity and mobility also enable dynamic geography and empower citizens of the city to rearrange into more desirable configurations as the population grows and evolves. While more in-depth engineering research is required, the preliminary analysis suggests that concrete platforms in the 50 x 50 meter dimensions strike the best balance between cost, movability, and stability in the waves of the representative region. Future research includes verifying the findings in DeltaSyncs report and honing the assumptions off of which the design is based.

Read more from the original source:

Floating Island Project | The Seasteading Institute

Seastead Institute, Ocean Builders promote seasteading: What …

Thai naval officers inspecting a a floating dwelling in the Andaman Sea.(Photo: Royal Thai Navy)

Seasteading, living on floating dwelling on oceans outside nation boundaries,is beingpromoted by groups that want to test new ideas on communal living in a utopian experiment.

One groupchampioning it is the Seasteading Institute, which claims that the sea, through “floating cities,”is a way to “allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for how to live together.”

Another is Ocean Builders a group that describes itself as “a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and plans to sell dwellings.

A floating dwelling, 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, is part of a controversy involving a Michigan native and his girlfriend.(Photo: Royal Thai Navy)

Butthis week,Chad Elwartowski, a Michigan man who sought to live on the ocean in a prototype,octagon-shaped dwellingwith his girlfriend, a Thai citizen,is in deep water with theThai government, which alleges that he infringing on its national sovereignty.

Elwartowski said he is is now on the run, and could bebe imprisoned for life or suffer the death penalty if he and his girlfriend are caught.

The Seasteading Institute says that living in international waters on permanent platformsarea way to “allow the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for how to live together.”

Read more:

Michigan man living in ocean has desperate plea: Thai government ‘wants us killed’

American cultural icon Smokey Bear gets a new look and voice for his 75th birthday

The institute was founded in 2008 by Patri Friedman a political economic theorist who also is the grandson of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman and technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

It also is encouraging countries to pass legislation that could lead to moreseasteading projects.

Elwartowski, who moved into a seastead built by Ocean Builders,has suggestedthat seasteading efforts allow people a chanceto start over.

“It’s basically a blank slate,” he says in a YouTubevideo, promising that 20 more seasteads would be built based on what his experience. “Hopefully, with this great blank slate, we can create some great governance.”

Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or fwitsil@freepress.com.

Read or Share this story: https://www.freep.com/story/news/world/2019/04/18/seasteading-institute-chad-elwartowski/3509205002/

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Seastead Institute, Ocean Builders promote seasteading: What …

Seasteading Bitcoin Fans Say They’re ‘On the Run’ From Thai …

It was supposed to be the first seastead in international watersa small white box protruding from the waves off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, occupied by two would-be pioneers who decided to live there in the pursuit of a new life unfettered by national laws.

But now, Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet (AKA Nadia Summergirl), say theyre on the run.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Royal Thai Navy filed a criminal complaint with police under a section of the criminal code that concerns threats to national sovereignty. Violations of this section of the criminal code are punishable by life in prison or death, the Post noted.

The six-meter wide structure, known as XLII, was supposed to be the first real application of seasteading, a libertarian idea that advocates for new societies to form on structures floating in international waters. According to Ocean Builders, the startup behind the project, the structure was allegedly located in international waters, 12 miles off the coast but still within Thailands exclusive economic zone.

After it launched in early 2019, Elwartowski and Thepdetvolunteers, according to Ocean Buildersmoved in. Elwartowski, a Bitcoin enthusiast, told me he had enough in cryptocurrency holdings to retire and Thepdet posts online as Bitcoin Girl Thailand. Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute advocacy group, directed a short documentary series about the pair, titled The First Seasteaders.

We were very enthusiastic about the idea of being able to live on the new frontier, Elwartowski told me in an email. It has been my dream for 10 years to live on a seastead. Nothing will take away the fact that I was able to be free for a few moments.

Trouble started, Elwartowski said, when the couple saw news reports about the government cracking down on their home while celebrating the ongoing Thai holiday of Songkranwhich began on Saturdayon land. Fearing the potentially stiff consequences, the pair bugged out, Elwartowski told me, a phrase that essentially means fleeing. When I first contacted Elwartowski through Ocean Builders site admin email, he said, We are on the run.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Royal Thai Navy sent officers to the XLII structure on Saturday and attempted to make radio contact with the occupants, but nobody replied.

Thai officials claim that XLII obstructs a shipping route, the Post reported. Elwartowski disputed this in an email, noting that the structure is small, located in an area rife with fishing boats, and outfitted with a solar anchor light as well as a navigation beacon for nearby ships.

When Motherboard contacted the US embassy in Thailand, an after-hours duty officer did not have any information to share.

The origins of Ocean Builders are murky, apparently intentionally so. Despite Elwartowski and Thepdet arguably being the faces of the XLII project, and Elwartowski responding to the companys main email account, even while on the run, a company statement described the pair merely as volunteers excited about the prospect of living free.

In an email, Elwartowski told me he and Thepdet arrived to the project in September of last year and repeatedly referred to the companys founder as “Seatoshi,” evoking Bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto. Ocean Builders describes itself as a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs.

In a statement, Ocean Builders acknowledged that the project team is made up of early Bitcoin adopters, but that Elwartowski didnt fund the project personally and moved in with his own sheets and dishware.

What is clear is that the modest XLII structure was hardly the end of Ocean Builders plans. The company had planned to start a pre-sale on 20 more units on Mondaya sale that is now postponed, according to a statement by Ocean Builders. A minimal, barebones structure was to sell for $150,000 USD, according to the company.

According to Elwartowski, Ocean Builders didnt liaise with the Thai government before the planned sale, and instead intended to wow officials with an impressive lineup of prospective buyers.

We wanted to see if there was enough interest before going to the Thai government, he told me. The key was we needed to show them how much money we planned on bringing in for our project. We couldn’t just go to them with the hopes of something happening. So we figured we would do the sale, see if there was enough interest then get started building with the permission of the Thai tourism authority and Board of Investment.

Elwartowski said that he and Thepdet are now seeking safety and asylum.

We just want to be alive somewhere not fleeing, he told me. I may be able to get to the US embassy but Nadia is Thai. She has to leave her family behind. Her son, her mom.

If the pair do make it through, they may decide to leave seasteading behind and simply live peacefully in their new location, Elwartowski said.

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Continue reading here:

Seasteading Bitcoin Fans Say They’re ‘On the Run’ From Thai …

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty

BANGKOK (AP) Thai authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the seasteading movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nations laws.

Thailands navy said Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet endangered national sovereignty, an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death.

It filed a complaint against them with police on the southern resort island of Phuket. Thai authorities said they have revoked Elwartowskis visa.

Elwartowski said in an email Thursday that he believes he and Supranee also known as Nadia Summergirl did nothing wrong.

This is ridiculous, he said in an earlier statement posted online. We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed.

The couple, who have gone into hiding, had been living part-time on a small structure they said was anchored outside Thailands territorial waters, just over 12 nautical miles from shore. They were not there when the navy carried out their raid on Saturday.

The Thai deputy naval commander responsible for the area said the project was a challenge to the countrys authorities.

This affects our national security and cannot be allowed, Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media on Tuesday. He said the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane.

Seasteading has had a revival in recent years as libertarian ideas of living free from state interference such as by using crypto-currency including Bitcoin have become more popular, including among influential Silicon Valley figures such as entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Elwartowski, an IT specialist, has been involved in Bitcoin since 2010.

Several larger-scale projects are under development, but some in the seasteading community have credited the Andaman Sea house with being the first modern implementation of seasteading.

The first thing to do is whatever I can to help Chad & Nadia, because living on a weird self-built structure and dreaming of future sovereignty should be considered harmless eccentricities, not major crimes, Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who heads The Seasteading Institute, said on his Facebook page.

The floating two-story octagonal house at the center of the controversy had been profiled and promoted online by a group called Ocean Builders, which touted it as a pilot project and sought to sell additional units.

The group describes itself as a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and are willing to put the hard work and effort forward to see that it happens.

In online statements, both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the couple merely promoted and lived on the structure, and did not fund, design, build or set the location for it.

I was volunteering for the project promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform, Elwartowski told The Associated Press.

Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared, Elwartowski said. We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.

Asked his next step, he was more optimistic.

I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government, he said.

___

Associated Press journalist Tassanee Vejpongsa contributed to this report.

See the article here:

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty

Navy to remove ‘seasteading’ floating home off Phuket coast …

This floating living platform, built off the coast of Phuket by an American man and his Thai wife, will be removed within one week, says the Third Navy Area commander. (Supplied photo via Achadtaya Chuenniran)

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Navy Third Navy looks set to remove “seasteading” couple’s living platform, 12 nautical miles from this island province, within a week.

Authorities have filed a complaint with Wichit police station over the floating platform set up in international waterssoutheast of Racha Yai island, said Vice Adm Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Area, during a media briefing on Wednesday.

Representatives from concerned agencies met to discuss legal procedures to be taken against those who set up the floating structure, said Vice Adm Sitthiporn.

In the police complaint, authorities accused American national Chad Andrew Elwartowski and his Thai wife, Supranee Thepdet, with an English alias of Nadia Summergirl, of breaching Section 119 of the Criminal Code.

The section concerns acts that cause the country or parts of it to fall under the sovereignty of a foreign state, and deterioration of the state’s independence.

The complaint has been filed against them for breaching Section 119 of the Criminal Code as there is evidence showing that they have publicly invited people on social media to stay at the site, which is adjacent to our territorial waters…we have laws to deal with this. It affects our sovereignty, said the Third Naval Area commander.

Officials hold a media briefing about a plan to remove the floating living structure 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket. (Photo by Achataya Chuenniran)

Preparations were already made to remove the floating structure from the sea as soon as possible, he said.

The structure hindered shipping navigation since fishing trawlers and cargo vessels ply the route to transport goods to Phuket, he said.

We have already prepared a vessel, equipment and manpower to move the structure. We will try to move it within a week said Vice Adm Sitthiporn.

Phuket deputy governor Supoj Rodruang Na Nong Khai said the American national, who set up the floating structure, had entered Thailand in November last year and had a temporary residence in tambon Rawai of Muang district, Phuket.

An investigation found that the man had run a Bitcoin trading business and wanted to set up an independent nation by exploiting legal loopholes, said the deputy governor.

The pair reportedly aimed to set up a permanent shelter out of any state territories by exploiting a loophole in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The practice of attempting to establish micronations that claim to be independent but are not recognised by world governments or major international organisations is expanding globally, particularly among those who become rich from cryptocurrency trading, according to officers.

Earlier, the Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre’s third area command held a news conference about the seastead, attracting coverage in both domestic and foreign media.

Continue reading here:

Navy to remove ‘seasteading’ floating home off Phuket coast …

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty …

An April 13, 2019 photo provided by Royal Thai Navy shows a floating home lived in by an American man and his Thai partner in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket island. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

Authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the “seasteading” movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nation’s laws.

The Royal Thai Navy said Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet endangered national sovereignty, an offence punishable by life imprisonment or death.

It filed a complaint against them with police in Phuket. Thai authorities said they have revoked Mr Elwartowski’s visa.

Mr Elwartowski said in an email on Thursday that he believes he and Supranee — also known as Nadia Summergirl — did nothing wrong.

“This is ridiculous,” he said in an earlier statement posted online. “We lived on a floating houseboat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed.”

The couple, who have gone into hiding, had been living part-time on a small structure they said was anchored outside Thai territorial waters, just over 12 nautical miles from shore. They were not there when the navy carried out its raid on Saturday.

The deputy naval commander responsible for the area said the project was a challenge to the country’s authorities.

“This affects our national security and cannot be allowed,” Rear Adm Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media on Tuesday. He said the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane.

Seasteading has had a revival in recent years as libertarian ideas of living free from state interference — such as by using cryptocurrency including bitcoin — have become more popular, including among influential Silicon Valley figures such as entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Mr Elwartowski, an IT specialist, has been involved in bitcoin since 2010.

Several larger-scale projects are under development, but some in the seasteading community have credited the Andaman Sea house with being the first modern iteration of seasteading.

“The first thing to do is whatever I can to help Chad & Nadia, because living on a weird self-built structure and dreaming of future sovereignty should be considered harmless eccentricities, not major crimes,” Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who heads The Seasteading Institute, said on his Facebook page.

The floating two-storey octagonal house at the centre of the controversy had been profiled and promoted online by a group called Ocean Builders, which touted it as a pilot project and sought to sell additional units.

The group describes itself as “a team of engineering focused entrepreneurs who have a passion for seasteading and are willing to put the hard work and effort forward to see that it happens”.

In online statements, both Mr Elwartowski and Ocean Builders said the couple merely promoted and lived on the structure, and did not fund, design, build or set the location for it.

“I was volunteering for the project promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform,” Mr Elwartowski told The Associated Press.

“Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared,” Mr Elwartowski said. “We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.”

Asked his next step, he was more optimistic.

“I believe my lawyer can come to an amicable agreement with the Thai government,” he said.

More:

Thailand says US man’s seasteading home violates sovereignty …


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