Thai Government Takes Over Seastead Near the Thai Coast

The Thai government thinks floating around just outside its territorial waters could justify a death sentence for seasteaders.


The Thai government is reportedly demolishing a seastead that briefly appeared off the coast of Phuket.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai government thinks the act of floating around just outside their 12-mile coastal zone breaches "Section 119 of Criminal Code. The section concerns any acts that cause the country or parts of it to fall under the sovereignty of a foreign state or deterioration of the state's independence. It is punishable by death or life imprisonment."

Chad Elwartowski, one of the seastead's two former inhabitants, writes in a Facebook post: "This is ridiculous. We lived on a floating house boat for a few weeks and now Thailand wants us killed." The "wants us killed" likely refers to that potential punishment for violating Section 119.

"We had to go underground because our contact warned us before this came out," Elwartowski adds. He also insists that he and his Thai companion Nadia Summergirl were merely tenants of the seastead and were not responsible for designing or building or placing it directly.

"We were hoping to bring tourism to Phuket with an underwater restaurant, floating hotels and medical research, tech jobs, etc," he writes. "We had 3 wealthy entrepreneurs in the past week tell us they were coming to live in Phuket because they were excited about the project. We love Thailand. Nadia is a proud Thai. She is a proud Buddhist who does not support violence. I am a pacifist who would not harm a fly."

Elwartowski's post calls for legal help in negotiating with the Thai government regarding any possible punishment he and Summergirl might face.

"We just wanted to be free," he writes. "If just for one day."

Ocean Builders' (the company responsible for placing the seastead) post on the crackdown says that the seastead is "in the process of being demolished by the Thai navy" and reiterates that although "Chad and Nadia are safe for now…understand that Thailand is currently being run by a military dictator. There will be no trial if they are caught. They already demonstrated that by being judge jury and executioner of the historic very first seastead."

The Thai government apparently claims that the seastead was a hazard to shipping lanes. Ocean Builders' response: "The seastead is 6 meters wide. It has a very bright anchor beacon and has a registered AIS beacon which can be detected by any boat with any sort of navigation in the vicinity." The group further says that the seastead was in a "heavy fishing area with many many fishing boats trawling the water there daily. The fishing boat captains used to wave at Nadia and Chad as they passed by. They were in no way bothered by the floating home. The seastead takes up less space in the shipping lane than a fishing boat."

Plans to sell and build new seasteads by Ocean Builders around Thailand are on hold. Elwartowski has told me in the past that by his understanding, the law did not require them to get the Thai government's permission to be where they were doing what they did. Apparently the Thai government disagrees.

In an email responding to a request for comment today, Elwartowski says that he and Summergirl were on shore enjoying the Thai festival of Songkran when "We read on a Thai TV site about our project. It was basically a combination of various articles but it started out with 'threat to national security' (translated). When we read this we immediately knew that they were preparing to do something. The media in Thailand is a mouthpiece for the government so they were setting the narrative to be accepted by the Thai people," he wrote. He initially heard and believed the seastead had been demolished, and decided when associates told him the Thai military would be gunning for him, "we bugged out. As we are still bugging out I will not go into where we went from there." Despite the rumors of the destruction already having happend, Elwartowski says as of now the Thai government has not yet moved or destroyed the seastead, as the beacon on it is still broadcasting from same spot.**

Patri Friedman, founder of the Seasteading Institute and co-author of the book  Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians, has written a Facebook post describing the mistakes he feels Elwartowski's team made. While their location was 12 nautical miles out from Thailand, he notes, it is still in what is legally considered that country's "'Contiguous Zone,' where a state has many rights, several of which seem likely to pertain here." He adds that even being 200 miles from land does not necessarily create "a magical realm of freedom where you can just plant a flag and be an independent polity. There are many rules and regulations that apply—including the need to plug into international law through the flagging system (for a vessel) or coastal state approval (for a fixed structure)."

Friedman also writes that anyone trying that strategy needs to be aware they would be outside all human systems of legal rights, with "ZERO rights, other than what you yourself can enforce with your diplomatic, economic, and military power, against anyone (like a nation-state) who you bother in any way."

Until seasteading "is big enough to change the system," Friedman concludes, "our beliefs about what international law should be, our imagined individual rights, our perception that the nation-state cartel is unjust, are all irrelevant to present strategy. We need to acknowledge the system in which we'll be working for the next 10-30 years, because only with a clear understanding of the present can we create our desired future."

**That paragraph was added to the article after its original posting when Elwartowski responded to an earlier emailed request for comment.

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  1. “”Phuket”‘

    1. Bangkok Post


  2. You can seastead but you can’t hide.

  3. “I am a pacifist who would not harm a fly.”

    In close proximity to a dictatorial government with a navy. That doesn’t tend to work out well for the pacifists.

    1. Some people are too stupid to live.

      1. Location, location, location.

        The Amish do just fine in PA and OH, unhindered (more or less) by the government. They’d probably be smart enough not to try and settle in Gaza.

        1. Or California – – – –

        2. They should have bought a 50 ft. sailboat and STFU about it. The more you advertise your subversive lifestyle, the more you attract insecure power whores.

        3. Yeah, it’s easy to be a pacifist when you’re surrounded by people who are willing to let you basically free-ride on their non-pacifism.

        4. The guys who settled in Lebos are also having some trouble adjusting. Searching for freedom by traveling a few miles offshore is complicated. It all depends on the details.

          That reminds me, I’ll be returning from Greece on Mother’s Day if all goes well. Last Mother’s Day … it’s a long story.

  4. “We just wanted to be free,” he writes. “If just for one day.”

    Try telling that (cool story, Bro!) to the IRS!!!

  5. “We just wanted to be free,” he writes. “If just for one day.”

    Welcome to the revolution. It doesn’t work like that. Never did.
    Told you so.

  6. Next time get the permit. Why endanger the whole project just for lack of paper?

    1. You mean bribe the local warlord? Or as it is known these days, pay the requisite taxes?

    2. Dictatorial Bureaucrat #1: Boss, this guy want’s a seasteading permit. We don’t have those.

      Dictatorial Bureaucrat #2: Shoot him.

  7. “He also insists that he and his Thai companion Nadia Summergirl were merely tenants of the seastead and were not responsible for designing or building or placing it directly.”

    Libertopia is chocked full of Dindo Nuffins

    1. A: I’m Nadia Summergirl.

      Q: Why would you break up with me just because the Spring semester is over?

  8. Sounds like the Seasteaders might should have built a wall.

  9. “International waters” is a social construct created by imperialists drawing imaginary lines around stuff.

  10. “We were hoping to bring tourism to Phuket with an underwater restaurant, floating hotels and medical research, tech jobs, etc,” he writes. “We had 3 wealthy entrepreneurs in the past week tell us they were coming to live in Phuket because they were excited about the project. ”

    Gotta love those wealthy entrepreneurs.

    Now he says he really never lived on that silly thing and had nothing to do with building or placing it. Not what we were led to believe last article when he was posting the website all over here with a link for your down payment.

  11. That is so sad.
    Man I hope they are able to get back on their feet and seastead somewhere more hospitable.

    1. San Francisco harbor?

      1. Watch it for the homeless poop runoff.

  12. Huh. My log in still works. Is there an edit function?

    1. Oh good, no edit- editing would let idiots change the shit they wrote to deflect legitimate criticism. But wow, definitely a change.

      1. That is easily preventable. Put a 30 min time limit on being able to edit a comment. If someone responds to the comment, that also ends the ability to edit the comment.

        1. Other options include…

          (A) putting a time-delay on a comment posting, during which time the poster can see and edit their comment.
          (B) Clear indications that a post was edited.
          (C) Ability to see what the original un-edited post was.

        1. These last three comments have now firmly put me in the camp of no edit buttons


          That said, ENB – Thanks for adding me to the Edit Button beta program

  13. Thailand claims a contiguous zone out to 24 miles.

  14. I do not think Thailand wanted to let the seasteaders slide, because China has been claiming territorial waters by claiming islands. Setting up a seastead close to the maritime boundary of a nation and saying you do not have to follow its laws can easily be the first step in claiming some of its waters, along with the mineral rights below them and access to shipping lanes, as yours.

    If you want that much independence, don’t settle close enough to make the weekly grocery run in the host country easy. There is a reason the Pilgrims did not settle in Jersey.

    1. There is a reason the Pilgrims did not settle in Jersey.</blockquote?

      Because of the guidos?

      1. My favorite movie is Last of the Moguidos.

    2. New Jersey is certainly what I’d call “settling”.

  15. It is possible that Chad and Supranee were just taken for a ride. Or they were part of this small scam. He boasts about his so called investors. Grandiose schemes of underwater tourism, medical research where it could not possibly happen, this floating piece of trash nobody could live in and they did not, already abandoned. Claims of bitcoin riches not in evidence.

    No sympathy as they tried to trap people into this failure by his own admission here and advertised by Chad on this website. Is anyone here willing to invest in this fake sea steading?

    Brian, you dont know when you have been had?

  16. The concept of international waters is an agreement between states. It is piece of paper that is not going to protect those who wish to escape states entirely.

    Nobody likes a rules lawyer.

  17. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour…

  18. So, next one should make sure to stock antiship and antiair missiles.

    I’m *not* a pacifist. 😀

    1. You’re going to launch missiles with rubber band based propulsion?
      Certainly your AA and AS aren’t solar powered?

  19. Damn. Guess I can wait for seasteading and “freedom” but I definitely want a “Thai companion named Nadia Summergirl”. Like, now.

  20. I’m sorry, but these people are beyond stupid. Seasteading is a waste of a concept. It is cutting off your nose to spite your face. And doing it off the coast of Thailand, who puts people to death for marijuana? Absolutely insane. Darwin’s award, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. At least they didn’t get the prize this time, at least not yet.

    1. So, blame the victims? What happened to human rights?

  21. “Nadia is a proud Thai. She is a proud Buddhist who does not support violence. I am a pacifist”

    But not a proud pacifist. That was your critical error.

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