Bitcoin enthusiasts Chad Elwartowski and Nadia Supranee Thepdet recently made history; they became the first people in the world to establish a seastead. In the floating home that Ocean Builders constructed, residing outside of the scope of any government’s territorial waters, they hoped to live freely and without the influence of others, but their dream did not last.
Not long after they established their position 14 nautical miles off the coast of Thailand (outside of their territorial waters), the Thai Navy attacked the home, believing it to be a threat to the nation’s sovereignty. Elwartowski and Thepdet received a tip about the attack and fled before the military stole their home. The two now face the death penalty in Thailand and are currently on the run; some sources believe they are residing somewhere within the Southeast Asian country. On Monday, though, the tiny nation of Sealand gave the couple reason to hope.
Sealand to the Rescue
Sealand, a former British Navy base residing seven nautical miles off the coast of Suffolk, is a prime example of a micronation existing in the world today. For 51 years, the handful of residents, who have reigned in a sort of mini-dynasty, have successfully managed independence from the United Kingdom. They even claim to have de facto recognition from both the United Kingdom and Germany.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Sealand faced armed conflicts with Germans and the British Navy. Decades later, the self-proclaimed micronation now is offering aid to other sovereign citizens in need. On Monday, the Principality of Sealand formally offered the seasteaders a safe haven in the tiny nation. They condemned the actions of the Thai government, condemning the reaction and expressing support for the seastead initiative. Their full statement is as follows:
We would like to formally offer Chad Elwartowski & Nadia Supranee Thepdet safe haven on Sealand. Their views, as well as those held by the wider @seasteading community are closely aligned with ours: Creating your own path away from traditional governance is not a crime – certainly not be one punishable by death. Such a draconian reaction from a national government serves as a stark reminder of why it is important to challenge the status quo.
We hope for a swift & peaceful resolution to the situation, and are ready to help in whatever way possible.
The Future of Seasteading
Despite the harsh reaction from Thailand, Ocean Builders shows no sign of stopping their plans. Neither does the affiliated Seasteading Institute. Like Sealand, they are of course sympathetic to the cause of Elwartowski and Thepdet. Since the raid, they have pointed out that Thailand is acting outside of the law and threatened to bring the matter to an international court.
Meanwhile, Ocean Builders claims that several other countries have contacted them about the project. Emphasizing locations with low waves and without hurricanes, the company hopes to send pioneers like Elwartowski and Thepdet out to future seasteads. They also claim that the area of the Andaman Seas, where the first seastead was, is a great region. However, future development depends on whether or not nearby governments would take similar illegal action to Thailand. Thus far, they claim to have over 300 individuals interested in the project.
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