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Why not try (again) there?

Home Forums Community General Chat Why not try (again) there?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of pie_in_the_sky pie_in_the_sky 3 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #1467
    Profile photo of OCEANOPOLIS

    For those of you who don’t know about Wolf Hilbertz’s artificial island project Autopia, here are some facts about it.


    Back then, Mauritus. who claims Saya de Malha as inside their EEZ (questionable since further then 200 nm from Mauritius territory) seems to have said NO to the Autopia project….But it seems to me that time have changed. Belive it or not, this is Mauritius now. http://www.slate.com/id/2287534/?GT1=38001

    Since there are a lot of stationary seasteads advocates here @ TSI, I was wondering if approaching the “new” Mauritius regarding another “Autopia venture” in the Saya de Malha might make sense now. Any intelligent comments?

    Profile photo of Matt

    I knew before opening the thread that you meant Saya de Mesh.

    I was for a time obsessed with the idea of trying again there, (first time for me), I was obsessed because I really love maps and I believe it’s the only non polar shallow that falls outside any EEZ. . Point is that the whole area is pretty cramped as it is, with several African Nations and France competing for the fishing grounds.

    A Seastead wishing to be fully independent will likely meet a Tongan response like with the Minerva Reefs.

    However if autonomous yet dependent Seasteads worked for an already sovereign country the situation would be mutually beneficial, specially if the seastead farms its own fish. The seastead would be a tax free area, autonomous in all respects, but flying the flag of a country that wishes to assert sovereignty over non clear shallows and reefs. It would be like the modern equivalent of a Bucaneer or Privateer in contrast to a Pirate and could be applied in several non too risky situations all over the Austronesian Civilization from Mauritius to again Fiji vs Tonga vs Minerva. It’s the same culture, and languge family, and the most traditionally seafearing one in the history of mankind. For instance I would not advocate this approach for the Spratley Islands.


    The point of settling outside EEZ is to reduce third party interfernce in your project and life. Although the idea to go outside legislation of land nations seems to be a good one (in theory) if you give a close look on the practical implementation you will find that it is not a good strategy after all.

    As wikipedia says ” Hilbertz and Goreau made several expeditions to the bank” – EXACTLY ! Even going there already needs a EXPEDITION (not to mention living, constructing, sending your kids to school, medic, etc…) – you might have a close look at the cost of a EXPEDITION to a spot 500km away from a already remote location…(just ship charter costs you 80.000 USD/day – need aweek to go there, a week come back ) – still have not touched a single brick and built anything on the bank – less a NATION…

    We should really look for more feasible ways to reduce third party interference with our float out projects…

    And even if you build it – it can not be repeated as no other shallow spot like this bank exists on the planet – so it is cero society relevant , unique at the best, and no model for anything.

    Seasteading that can not be done on “most of the ocean” is just pointless as settling on the ocean is the point. – so forget “special feature seasteading (seamount – banks)” – go for “float anywhere seasteading” –

    If you check the practice you will find that floating just a few meters from the shoreline gives you a lot of freedom in practice already – especially if combined with high mobility that allows you to avoid annoying neighbors, legislation, and interference practice in some bays, marinas, anchor sites.

    Yachties can tell you how free you could be if you only could afford and implement the lifestyle better and extend the autonomy, comfort, range and wether capability of the boat somewhat allowing you to stay outside major harbors for long time periods.

    Freedom starts with building just a better more affordable yacht that allows you to live your life in spots where “annoying government official density” goes to cero. There are plenty of such spots inside EEZ.


    Profile photo of OCEANOPOLIS

    I can totally relate to Wil’s statement that in practice, there is a lot more freedom “few meters” offshore. Also, there are plenty of “spots” of very little goverment interference even inside any nation’s EEZ, indeed. Also, the point of reducing third party interference is very valid, even though the financial challanges of achieveing that will be considerable.

    But lets be realistic for a minute here. (if a logical assumtion such as the following could be deemed realistic,..:).

    Lets assume that @ some point in time we will achieve the “float anywhere seasteading” capabilities, as Wil put it. That will mean, as a minimum requirement, a floating mobile seasteading structure of @ least 500′ LOA, population 100-500 ?? I think that in all fairness, these are pretty much very down to earth figures if we want to float anywhere on the World’s oceans. What’s next now? Well, we are going to set sail, somewhere. Is this seastead gonna set sail and motor for,…5 nm and then drop the hook inside the EEZ of the country he’s in? I strongly doubt that! It would defeat the purpose of the whole thing. This seastead is offshore bound, for sure. And what are the options here? Well, just a few, really:

    1. Keep on navigating around the World, stopping here and there for undetermined periods of time and then just keep on going and repeat the same routine. In time more “modules” are added on to this “critical mass” and the seastead will grow in size and population.
    2. Go to a predetermined destination, deep offshore, 1000+ nm and outside the EEZ of any nation, in the midlle of nowhere and stay there by means of maintaining dynamic positioning using whatever means available. Growth will happen right there.
    3. Go to a predetermined destination, just outside the 200 nm EEZ of any existing nation, on a relatively shallow seamount or in a bank somwhere and drop the hook there. Growth will happen right there.

    Personally, I see #1 as the best scenariol for the immediate future seasteading goals. In time, due to to growth, it will eventually become stationary one day.

    #2 will be a hard one to achieve as an immediate future seasteading goal. Why? First, we’ll have to start with a LOTS of cash in our pockets. DP will cost big money if by means of propultion. Food and fuel will have to be shipped 1000nm offshore. So will be any business aboard. And, what is out there to be done? This seastead will have a hard time establishing itself fast as a “destination” for any type of business, unless it starts as #1 and gets established under way. Still a hard sell.

    #3 it’s not that bad if the location is right. And Saya de Malha it’s an exellent location, mostly because it’s still unexplored. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saya_de_Malha_Bank. In terms of Mauritius claiming it as own EEZ, thats very shaky by international law standards. They do so because they have 2 small islands claimed as Mauritius “dependencies” close to Saya, the Agalega Islands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agalega_Island. BUT, the northern most tip of the North bank of Saya, called Richie Bank SEEMS to be borderline,…around 200 nm from the Agalega Islands. And the eastern most tip of the South Bank is definately further than 200nm from Mauritius and Agalega, therefore outside its EEZ. Check out Google Earth. It also seems odd, that a tiny island country with a small dependency territory 700 miles from its main shore should claim such a vast territory as its own EEZ, so far out at sea. And in reality, I don’t think that the 500 people Mauritius Coast Guard and their 1 cutter will go to war with a 500′ seastead that just happen to drop the hook in Saya de Malha.

    Worst case scenario might be us having to part with few cartoons of Marlboro, and few bottles of Jack Daniels for the cutter’s captain :)


    What matters is not theory but the practice – in theory mauritius has the same rights to expand and reenforce EEZ zones as any other country – in practice its ability to implement something on a seastead or even on a ship or mayor yacht is minimal. In theory mauritius could send a warship 1000 nautical miles off its national territorry for a “interdiction action” claiming that the USA is doing so also – but i doubth that their single cutter will be a threat we would have to make long term plans for when moving a seastead to the area.

    In theory “all vessels are equal” but i doubth that a seastead will ever be treated in practice, as a private boat is treated, it is just not feasible in practice to stop it, search it, tow it to a poliece pier and let it sail later when found clean. – nobody EVER has towed a oil rig, cruise ship, etc… to a police pier as it is “standard treatment in practice” for small boats.

    So i suggest to relax on the “legal front” and just to trust that the “practical power of the facts” is doing its work. Once you have a stead that sets you really apart from the rest of “vessels” you will be treated apart – no matter if this is a reality on paper it will be a reality in practice.

    Take the freedom of a yachtie and multiply it by the size of a stead the number of its inhabitants, its economic importance for the locals and its power of can go away if anybody fuc..s with me – this is the “practical freedom” you can get inside EEZ just a few meters offshore. I really see no point in the talk about going outside EEZ where no claim can reach you in theory – you deal a minimum increase in “practical freedom” for a maximum increase in hardship this is just not a good deal at all.

    In a future “grown up seasteads” of hundreds of inhabitants will stay mid ocean to exploit open ocean seafood resources, mine mid ocean minerals, produce wind energy. But the first steads will just be a “exotic extention” of the the yacht, marina, tourism, segment. Engaging in the same business in the same areas – just doing it a few hundred meters offshore afloat in greater freedom as “shoreline regulation codes” do not apply for floating structures.

    In my opinion the inmediate future of seasteading is in bringing the same practical freedom that a yachtie anchored a few meters of shore already experiences to “normal people” that are not willing to live on a cramped boat .

    So making a better living space that can work as mobile and free as a yacht does- should be the main focus.


    Profile photo of OCEANOPOLIS

    “In my opinion the inmediate future of seasteading is in bringing the same practical freedom that a yachtie anchored a few meters of shore already experiences to “normal people” that are not willing to live on a cramped boat .

    So making a better living space that can work as mobile and free as a yacht does- should be the main focus.”

    But this thread was not about the “how” of the immediate future of seasteading but about ‘where”, as a general, theoretical conversation. It was in no way intended to suggest that a start up seasteading ventures should go straight to Saya,…unless, of course, the start up capital it’s hundreds of million of $.


    Similar as Jules Verne could predict much of the realities of our time by simply looking at the “newest developments” of his time and project them into the future. We can predict quite exactly how Saya will be colonized.

    Once seasteads reach the size and population of Las Vegas the isolation of the “surrounding desert environment” becomes less important – they become self sufficient population centers with their own attraction by themselfs. Other than Las Vegas which was built on gambling as economic support, big almost autosufficient, seastead population centers, built somewhere else, will be finally attracted to Saya to exploit the shallow waters with aquaculture installations, exporting frozen seafood in containers to the continent.

    It will be the third of fifth generation of seasteads that finally come to a size where insulation is no important factor any longer. The stead will not be built in Saya it will be built in china close to shore and float there when finished and ready to operate shore independent. The current time business model will be a floating tuna processing ship. The additional adaption will be sustainability of resources.

    Everybody who ever built a wooden vaction home on a secluded beach with no access road (i did it) has a clear notion how irrealistic it is to build a “nation” on a spot like that from cero. The settlement of easter island ( which had resources to support a human population in dry land in difference to saya) gives a picture what remote settlement of that kind really means…



    Profile photo of pie_in_the_sky


    Hi Wil, some questions. Has the legality of Mauritius’s claim been tested? What would it take to test the claim? Could a boat simply anchor at that specific area and claim soveriegnty?

    Mauritius doesn’t seem to be part of the South Pacific Forum, which seems to have held some sway in the Republic of Minerva incident.

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