Building a seastead 13 miles off Phuket coast

(Rüdiger Koch) #1

This will be a spar type test platform with a cylinder diameter of 2 meter, 24 meter draft, made of concrete and steel. Rendering is at the bottom. Purpose is to test the viability and the right parametrization of this kind of platform for Seasteading, as well as the development of related technologies such as an active positioning system. If successful, this will be the template for larger platforms the size that permits to put a family home on top (4-6m diameter).

As this is still within the exclusive economic zone, what would be my legel obligation under maritime law towards the Thai government?

What would be your recommendations for registration? I am thinking about Langkawi. But the designated location of the platform is just 60 miles off Malaysia. Might that result in any problems, such as the MY
coast guard demanding complicance with MY law?


(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

@Nabu1912 | Rüdiger, welcome ! - looks like an interesting project, right along the lines suggested by Bob Ballard … if you need help / advice contact me… | context: oceanic aquaculture

How good is your networking with the Thai Coast Guard ? | What do you know about the "interference practice" of the Thai Coast Guard ? -

It is not about legal papermousing of (non existing) law text - it is about “expected practical interference” when they find a “weired thing in what they percieve as their playground…”

Will they “agressivly interfere” and “tow it to a police pier” as it is “well known practice” from the US Coast Guard - will they “check with interest”, Drug search, and then let be, wish you best of luck, and even give you a certain level of support - as it is known from the Colombian Coast Guard ? -
What you have to fear is not the "law text" what you fear is the "free interpretation of the acting officer" of spaces that are "not covered by law text yet"...that is different.

(noboxes) #3

What excellent timing, there was a post yesterday about buying a boat too big to tow to the water, and 24 meters = 78 feet, definately too big for me to legally tow.

To float a 78ft draft in some places along the usa, you would be outside the territorial zone. If you are not making any money, i would think the economic zone would not matter much. However, commercial traffic may be a really big deal, and you will be required to announce yourself at all times, and stay out of their paths.

Have you modeled this design in a wave tank? It’s been said that the top of a spar acts like a platform at the top of a tall tree. It may not tilt or move vertically much, but it does sway side to side in the waves and wind.

Do keep us up to date with pictures!

(Rüdiger Koch) #4

I’d say it is impossible. The water in the bay are 9m deep max according to sonar. Most is far less. They’d have to tow it to Ranong - 150 miles. That sounds like fun, towing a structure with a drag like Buckingham Palace.

I did some quick OpenFOAM sims. Looks good to me, even without helix fins running down the cylinder. The thing about sims is that you can never be sure it is not GIGO. That is even true for small scale physical models in a wave tank. Similarity in Fluid Dynamics is tricky. There are many gentlemen you need to keep happy, not just Mr. Reynolds. So I decided to make the Andaman sea my wave tank.

There will be blogs and also a movie. But it will take a few months…


(Chad Elwartowski) #5

I’m very interested in seeing how this goes.

My original plan for when I retired was to build something in Thailand. But Blue Frontiers came along with a viable project so I’m working with them.

My gf lives in Bangkok so I am in Thailand quite a bit. I was curious about how their police would handle a seastead. Like Elmer said, it’s more about what the local coast guard would do, nothing to do with the actual law.

You might want to register it as a barge or something similar and at least put a flag on it.

(.) #6

Hi Elwar;

Nice haircut. How do you define ‘retirement’?

(Chad Elwartowski) #7

Having enough money to not need to work the rest of my life.

Varies per person on how much that is.

(.) #8

I guess my definition is different. Good luck with that.

(noboxes) #9

Sims are for finding out after the build that no one knew about something. Such as those helix fins for vortex shedding, they were discovered by accident, and then added (with guesswork) into some sims. Vertical fins work just as well, if you know where to add them, which on a cylinder is everywhere.

Are you intending to tow this with the residence attached to the spar top? With the concrete ballast installed? Did you find funding to cover all the disasterous possibilities of relocation and launch (as opposed to the build)?

(Rüdiger Koch) #10

A bit OT on a board about Law:

Nope, most will be built in situ with only minor parts pre-installed. I’d like to know how this goes because a future seastead will have to be ablt to build new structures off-shore. Ballast will be added as the structure grows downwards.


(noboxes) #11

It does pertain to law because towing takes up more footprint than carrying on a FOFO ship, transit time will be different also, so the rules will be different. I agree a seastead should be able to manufacture more of itself, But from the pov of being on site, in deep water used for commercial traffic, as an already known “obstacle to navigation”, adding onto has less of a legal hill to climb than getting there in the first place. The first spar, if assembled “out there”, will need a no-go zone around each ship being used in the delivery of components and construction. But building the second spar from the first one can be done within the boundries of the first spar, with no legal notifications of location or water-space used, and no amendments to navigation charts. And then there’s the anchor system(s).

(.) #12

Might want to watch youtube:
slip casting the pillars of the bridge of Rion-Antirion.

(.) #13

It appears to be the right idea.
Have you seen youtube videos about the ship: Flip ?

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, California, USA.)

(Rüdiger Koch) #14

Thanks for that, spark.That is indeed similar to what I plan and that is exactly what I wanted to do before I thought about using pre-cast ring segments and axial pre=stressing wires inside the tube instead of axial steel reinforcement.


(.) #15

That is cool. It would be interesting to read about these pre-cast ring segments.


Family?? On a 4-6 m diameter??

Call the Thai government and find out, LOL.

Don’t register…

First of all, there are no MINE or YOURS maritime laws. They are international. All countries are bound by them.

Second, if you’re going on a 4-6 m spar “just 60 miles off Malaysia”, compliance with the Thai Gov coast guard will be the least of your problems. I strongly suggest a living will.

(Rüdiger Koch) #17

Thats the cylinder diameter. The platform can be considerably bigger. The primary factor here is weight, secondary are wind forces. But I think 2 floors with 50-100 m2 each should be OK.

Sure? My understanding is that not registering is legally equivalent to using this flag:

I am assuming that the country of your registration has special rights. For example if I fly the flag of Malaysia, the MY coast guard has the right to enforce MY law on the vessel. Which is inconvenient, because that would mean complying to Sharia law. But then, loads of Yachts in the area are registered in Langkawi and I never heard of any Yacht owner being caned for drinking beer.

This is in the Thai exclusive economic zone. Thailand will be about 13 miles away.

(.) #18

I did not know much about the high seas, so I tried reading the legal definitions.
Piracy, is not about the flag. Piracy is about damage, and causing damage.
That is my understanding of the legal definition.

None the less, for US Coastguard to fire one a vessel, on of the requirements is
no flag on vessel. And just because of no flag, I do not think they would automatically
fire. This could be different with other coastguards.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #19

The flag, pirate, vessel, thing was extensivly treated in 2015 check here | consider it rather a undigested myth based on a 17 century code fragment- than a 21st century seafaring reality you need to be concerned with…

(Rüdiger Koch) #20

Nothing special about the pipes - they are just like sewage pipes, except that they have stronger steel reinforcement rings, are made of higher grade concrete and the concrete is compacted with greater care.

Also, I will paint one half of a pipe with epoxy paint and leave the other half raw to see what difference that will make over time in terms of leakages, corrosion of reinforcements and “fouling”.