Legal problem with the whole seasteading concept
September 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm #3781
I entirely agree with you on the subject of UNCLOS: current nation-states know very well that there is no supranational mandate under which they can enforce a treaty that defines statehood onto some brand new state invented just for seasteading and therefore not a signatory to any such treaty that defines statehood, for the purpose of stopping it calling itself a genuine state. You need a chicken to make an egg, and you also need an egg to make a chicken. They know this, so they cannot afford not to wipe anything that loudly points out this loophole under some big rug, preferably with maximum prejudice.September 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm #3782
The simplest legal solution is to set up in the pacific doing a deal with a small island nation that faces sea-level rise. Offer them a few sea steads as a solution to their problem of flooding and erosion (a very bad case of rising damp) and buy rights to fly their flag beside your own ‘corporate’ flag. If sea steading works as a technology and an economic model people and governments will listen to our other ideas, assuming they are not completely insane. If sea steading fails theres an island near by to land the life-rafts on.
Most pacific islands are relatively libertarian in their out look. If sea level is real, I’m convinced coral growth rates will keep up but thats another matter, we could be heralded as the Saviours of the pacific low islands.
For everyone’s information I was involved with the original Oceania Project in a small way. I’m also in several space organizations. And I have a Degree in sustainable Development, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy,water and sewerage.September 10, 2008 at 5:38 pm #3785
The first instinct of existing states is to crush any new nation venture. They don’t like any new competition, and they will use force to destroy it. That has been proven repeatedly at Minerva Reefs, New Atlantis, etc. I’m not trying to be pessimistic or negative, but to give people a clear and realistic understanding of what they’re up against if they want to try to start a new nation. See also Erwin Strauss’ book.
That said, there’s much (business, technology, social, etc.) development that can and should be done before attempting to declare statehood. That can probably be done under a flag and in the territorial waters of existing states. Be aware that some of them may not take kindly to even that relatively benign use.September 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm #3793
They may see the venture as helping them, not hurting them. I recently spoke to someone working on providing a single specific service 12 miles off the US coast. This service is legal, but can be done much more cheaply without US regulation. He is flying the flag of a country which explicitly supports his project.
Now, that’s much more limited than creating new countries. But the general idea is that whatever country’s flag you are using can benefit from your success, and provide some protection. And you have all the countries in the world to choose from when negotiating a flag deal.September 13, 2008 at 6:41 am #3799
Agreed, and it’s interesting that you found someone looking at the regulatory benefits of commercial ventures at sea.
Reminds me a bit of the folks who wanted to offer abortions in international waters near countries where abortions were outlawed. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/11/world/11SHIP.htm?ex=1221364800&en=5559db517c032103&ei=5070 Obviously there are many far less controversial potential services or businesses than abortions, but it was an interesting use of International waters. They used a Dutch-flagged ship since that country that allows abortions, much like your example. Gene therapy, stem cell research, etc., seem somewhat similar. America has lots of biotech/life science skilled people and lots of laws interfering with it.
At this point, developing the technology and some possible business models to get some steads built is probably the key requirement. I’m still concerned about how existing nations would react to a stead however. The range of possiblities would seem to include encouragement through destruction. Flagging helps somewhat.September 14, 2008 at 5:30 pm #3810
I’ve been told of some reefs about 40 miles off of San Francisco with good salmon fishing. There is also a large pool of biotech researchers already in the area, along with nanotech startups, software engineering, biomed, and electronics. This could evolve out of Baystead as an intermediate step to international waters.
Interestingly enough, the person who told me of the reefs used to have a berth at Sausalito where he built a mooring and later owned a boat. He thought of anchoring barges at the reefs and ferrying customers out to them to fish.September 15, 2008 at 6:17 am #3816
Fishing in many waters is highly regulated. For example the entire 2008 commercial and recreational California and Oregon salmon season was shut down due to low stocks. In other words, all Chinook salmon fishing off California and Oregon was banned.
Archive for Friday, April 11, 2008 U.S. orders salmon season stopped Regulators are trying to protect slumping chinook population off California and Oregon. By Eric Bailey April 11, 2008 — Instead of preparing to hit the Pacific’s wind-tossed waters next month, veteran fisherman Dave Bitts sat at the counter of a dockside restaurant on Humboldt Bay recently, mulling fate and a cloudy future. For the first time since the birth of the West Coast fishing industry 150 years ago, Bitts and other fishermen face a season without salmon. Federal regulators, worried about sagging runs up and down the coast, agreed Thursday to cancel this year’s commercial and recreational catch of chinook – the prized king salmon of the fish market – off California and Oregon. The ban adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council after a weeklong meeting in Seattle marks the new low point for trade enshrined in the West since the Gold Rush. An aborted season will wallop coastal communities in which salmon has long been a financial and cultural mainstay. Repercussions are expected to ripple out, with the ban hurting not just fuel docks and tackle stores but also supermarkets and truck dealerships. In California, commercial salmon fishing is a $150-million business.
Doing business in U.S. waters is only slighly better than doing it on land in terms of regulation, and is probably more expensive than doing it on land. The regulatory advantages need to outweigh the costs of doing business at sea.October 22, 2008 at 2:59 am #4002
It is interesting that many people seem to think of the banana republic as the primary threat to this venture. I can easily see any of the G8 police-state powers swooping in and arresting every adult inhabitant of a floating city for drug trafficking, or sex slavery if there are prostitutes aboard, or weapons smuggling if we have the audacity to arm ourselves for our common defense. And heaven help anyone in that city if someone tries to defend themselves from the goon squad, the whole place will be massacred and the people responsible will be awarded medals for stopping a terrorist cell.
It doesn’t actually matter at all what we’re doing or where, since the testimony of corrupt and violent men with shiny badges is enough to convict almost anyone of almost anything. If people with power wish to stop us, it will be the work of a few days to eliminate every sea-city from the waters, and the official story won’t be one that causes public outcry.January 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm #4623
idanthologySubscriberFebruary 6, 2009 at 12:58 am #4852
From the previous post that a seastead is not “legally” considered territory and therefore we could not create our own “country” area. I agree to one get around idea of this is by being friendly with one of the island nations in the Pacific that are “sinking” into the Pacific, then being granted access to fly their flag. Or we can just say we are a giant conglomerate of people looking to classify ourselves. I dont know but the first idea seems better.February 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm #4880
By Admirality law,when in international waters i can fly my own flag.Since is nobody juristriction,a floating seastead can fly its own flag. No vessel, private, comercial, or man-of-war, of any registry has the authority to stop,board ,or interfere w/ your passage, unless you are involved in piracy. If they do so w/no reason than they will be involved in piracy.That’s why, a seastead on high seas HAS TO BE armed and ready to defend itself. Belive it or not guys there ARE pirates out there, w/modern speed boats and .50 caliber machine guns on the bow. And they dont take to many prisoners,….South China Seas, Bahamas, and recently Somalia. I am a sailor and i always carry couple of handguns and a loaded shutgun abord. And I had situations were ,sailing in the Bahamian waters on one of my friends sailboat, a speed boat was coming towards us,no answer when called them on VHF to state their intentions and identify themself so,…the captain tell them that if they get in 100 feet range we will open fire. And trust me he wasnt bluffing.They turned around w/ no answer. Out there is better them than us.March 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm #5256
International law is just that, and agreement between powers. Since the agreement is between nations then only a nation can contest that international law was broken. If we do not ally with a nation we will not have the benefit of law to defend ourselves with. Small arms would deter pirates. Our best defense against small and large navies would be to offer nothing of interest to these nations.
Live simply. Do not engage the global community. Provide for our own needs as best we can. Build nothing of value other than more of the same meek seasteads. Spread out, so that we won’t offer a simple target. Keep moving so as to be seen as transients. Eventually, we’d have the numbers and manufacturing capability of a 2nd world (or maybe even 1st world if they all keep declining) country.
At that point we can combine our seasteads into a large citystate (or a few of them) and have built military grade arms to defend ourselves. We simultaneously declare our national status, demand access to the big table at the U.N., and offer various world powers lucritive trade deals (maybe suppling large amounts of biofuel while the mid-east finds it’s oil running on empty).
Very likely we will be annihilated at that point. It’s the best guess I can figure at the moment though.
-JasonApril 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm #5550
The simple answer to this problem is to Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything because the reality of the world we live in is this: if we acquired or even attempted to acquire weapons or weapons systems that would enable us to defend ourselves against say, the Mongolian Navy (a land-locked nation which to the best of my knowledge doesn’t have a Navy), the nearest Macro-Nation would declare us to be ‘terrorists’, sail out in a ship and put an end to us in very short order.April 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm #5551
Lets not overstate the problem. While the risk of simply being put out of busines by bullies is real, there are only a few countries that can be said tp owe their sovereignity to political or mechanical firepower. Existence on top of the foodchain is decidedly more comfortable, but the way to it is not inherently impossible. It contains risks, but risk i am willing to take.April 14, 2009 at 9:43 pm #5553
Lets not overstate the problem. While the risk of simply being put out of busines by bullies is real, there are only a few countries that can be said tp owe their sovereignity to political or mechanical firepower. Existence on top of the foodchain is decidedly more comfortable, but the way to it is not inherently impossible. It contains risks, but risk i am willing to take.
Off hand, I can think of no countries (possibly excepting the Vatican, and the tiny nation-states like Luxembourg) that don’t owe their sovereignity to political or military firepower. And the further down the food chain a nation is, the more likely it seems that they will use that firepower to bully another nation or their own people. Case in point right now is N. Korea, a “Nation”: that cannot feed it’s own people but insists on trying to bully both their neighbor and the nation that is willing to give them the most food.
Or, if you prefer, Zimbabwe: force of arms terrorizing their own citizens….Iran, building nuclear weapons. The list is endless.
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