Creating Mobile Offshore Bases Using Barges

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Some projects for establishing ocean communities are investigated and then given up for several reasons. One of them is the Mobile Offshore Base (M.O.B.) concept by U.S. Navy. It was considered technically possible, but too expensive. Nevertheless, working on the idea, we have developed a proposal for a seastead based on several barges moored between them.

Summary and conclusions:

  • The concept of Mobile Offshore Base (M.O.B.) by U.S. Navy is too expensive for seasteading, but it shows that the idea of joining several vessels for creating an ocean city has been studied before, and it is technically possible.
  • Mono-hull barges are cheaper and offer more capacity and easier operation than semisubmersible barges. In a non harsh environment area, that means that a mono-hull barge is a better option than a semi-submersible barge.
  • As a seastead does not require a continuous mobility, we could use mono-hull barges with mooring system instead of dynamic positioning system for keeping the position.
  • The use of moored barges will lower the price a lot, but on the other hand they will be limited to water depths that allow deploying anchors to bottom. Today, deep water mooring is able to reach 1700 m.
  • Mooring several barges close to each other is difficult but possible and there are standard solutions for that.
  • Containerized accommodation modules for installing in offshore barges are provided in the market and offer a cheap way of making seasteading scalable.
  • This combined solution of barges with containerized modules provides two steps of scalability of a seasteding community: 1st step → Barge. 2nd step → Modular containers.

You can pick up the complete document here.

3 comments

  1. Jeff Chan 1:42 pm

    I have not had a chance to review the document yet, but in general it sounds feasible within a limited range of sea conditions.  May not be as comfortable as I personally would like, but it’s a possible incremental approach.  Both oceangoing barges and containerized housing are available.

    The navy’s proposal with semi-submersibles is also interesting.

  2. livefreeortry 8:12 am

    Just read the document. I’d like to commend Miguel for doing good work with this and other interesting proposals:

    Some points:

    1) Single family seasteads (which are better off being semi-submerisbles/spars rather than monohulls) could join together using similar methods.

    2) I assume mooring is also expensive, even if less so than dynamic positioning? How about just drifting for a while, particularly in the open ocean where there is plenty of space? Once every week or month, the whole structure could steam to the approximate original spot. Is this useful?

    3) How about underwater parachutes to counter wave action, or even drifting (although underwater parachutes may not be much help for currents)?

  3. Miguel Lamas 8:42 am

    The idea of the report is just to show how mooring and anchoring could be a possible way for keeping the position of seasteads in  waters from some few meters depth to even one thousand meters depth. It is not cheap, as you need the assistance of specialied vessels like Anchor Handlers, and it could be even more expensive than dynamic positioning if the seastead is moved quite frequently.

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