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Drama on the Thai Sea


last yearSteemit4 min read

The Empire Strikes Back

In February 2019 something exciting happened some 12 + nm off the coast of Phuket, Thailand.
The first seastead was put in place by Ocean Builders.
A Thai-American couple moved in as the first pioneers.

Time for a German joke:
How do you recognize pioneers?
By the arrows in their backs.

Chad and Nadia celebrating the first seastead

The company´s plan was to get investors for twenty more seasteads and form a small community of freedom loving people out in the sea.
While seasteading has been a thing for a while, with Peter Thiel providing the initial funding for The Seasteading Institute, this was proof that it can actually be done, the first practical realisation of a family-sized seastead, which was also financially doable, with a price tag of about 150,000 US$.
People who had enough of all the theorizing got together and got the job done.

Bottom of the spar

The above picture got me especially excited, because I immediately envisioned the beginning of a floating reef there.
While normally construction of artificial reefs needs to be done in shallow waters, so close to the shore, because corals need sunlight to survive, with the floating seasteads you could have reefs floating in areas where the seabed is much deeper, as long as it is feasible to anchor the structures to the ocean floor.
There is immense pressure on coral reefs worldwide because they are close to the shore, suffer from sediment runoff, dynamite and poison fishing, overheating and therefore coral bleaching.
So in combination with reef building, aqua culture (seaweeds, algae, fish etc) seasteads could be very positive for the ocean environment.
Aquaculture in Asia is usually not very environmentally friendly, because many times mangrove forests will be destroyed in order to make space for the fish cages close to the shore, the fish feeds and excrements pollute the waters, because there is not much cleansing current in shallow water, so you will have algae bloom, fish get sick, you need medicine, a vicious circle.
Out in the ocean, in deeper water, you don´t have those problems, and if you are lucky, there might be beneficial currents (upwelling) even bringing nutrients to the fish for free.
Plus all the positive effects of all kinds of freedom by not belonging to a nation state.

But now, in April, The Empire strikes back:
Whoever does any act with intent to cause the country or any part thereof to descend under the sovereignty of any foreign state, or to deteriorate the independence of the state, shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.
Thai Authorities are accusing the seastead couple of the above and the two are on the run now, fearing for their lives, while the seastead is either in the process of being destroyed or by now has been destroyed by the Thai navy.

Here you can read a statement by Ocean Builders about the whole drama.

Here is some information about seasteading by The Seasteading Institute.

Here you can find a statement by Patri Friedman, grandson of Milton Friedman and Chairman of the Board of The Seasteading Institute, about the incident, and also regarding some maritime legalese applying to seasteads.

Nadia´s YouTube with some videos about the seastead

seasteading YouTube with lots of videos, also about the first seastead.

The drama in the news

While this might be a temporary setback, maybe even producing seasteading´s first martyrs, I believe there is plenty of potential in seasteading.
But as long as you do not have the necessary firepower to deter a hostile navy (and air force) you need to play by the rules of the states you are close to, because even if you are legally right and you are not in their territorial waters, if the people in power do not like what you are doing, they might blow you out of the water, simply because they can.


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