Implications of Extended Continental Shelf on Sovereignty


Under Article 76 of the Law of the Sea Convention each coastal state (sovereign country) has rights extending beyond the landmass. Many people incorrectly assume that simply locating a seastead more than 200 miles from shore makes it possible to establish a sovereign city-state.

A coastal nation may make a claim well beyond 200 miles based on the language in Article 76 regarding the Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). Within the 200 mile limit exists the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which gives control over the seafloor, including seabed and subsoil, as well as the column of water above the seabed. The extent of the ECS is determined by one of two formulae and, as a result, may extend beyond the EEZ. In this case sovereignty does not include the column of water but it does include the seabed and subsoil.

Article 76 specifically gives coastal nations sovereign rights and jurisdiction over construction, operation and use of artificial islands, installations and structures on the shelf. This jurisdiction also includes drilling on the continental shelf for any reason as well as any pipelines and prevention of marine pollution.

Article 76 appears to be a significant hurdle to the development of a permanent, politically-independent sovereign seastead.

More information available here:

(.) #2

I do not want to drill.


What kind of permanent anchor do you propose? It probably involves some activity that looks a lot like “drilling”. And your seastead may look a lot like an “artificial island” or other structure.

(.) #4

Many people propose many things. Only a few build anything.
It might be necessary to propose something to start a cooperative effort.
I have a kind of libertarian approach, that is mutual consent. When someone does
not like my ideas, we can vote with our boats and sail away from each other.

There are angry people out there. Some of those people see other people’s success as a judgment
on themselves. To be a worker amongst workers is not as popular as trying to be a hero.
Even when heroes are not necessary.

Open disclosure of plans are possible ways risk that in the future there will be regulations to
prevent those plans. It is like a chess game. The steps have to be planed ahead but there is an
opponent, who should not be told about the future steps.

I am not in the search for enemies, nor opponents.


Posting this link to a map of Territorial Waters and Exclusive Economic Zones:

(Chad Elwartowski) #6

I would think that people would check to make sure they are outside of EEZs if that were their intention.

Postulating on a web forum can be done for decades. People actually living on the first seasteads will likely delve into such things with a deeper understanding of their specific needs.


My own goal is offshore, not so much outside any jurisdiction. I don’t feel the need to make societal changes. I have my own goals. If a community develops where I am, that’s all fine and dandy, otherwise, my goals aren’t dependent on having community support, or supporting any particular community.


I’m not the sort of person to simply trust that everything will work out. If I’m serious about making a commitment to a seastead, financially and/or moving in, I absolutely would require information in advance about conflict resolution and legal framework well in advance of that commitment. Maybe that’s just me.

If we’re talking about a sovereign seastead then the issues multiply. Will the seastead grant citizenship? Will residents be dual citizens, retaining their original status? Will there be reciprocal travel rights? Will visas be required? Will any country even recognize the sovereign seastead?

I’m just a little guy so I won’t know for sure why Peter Thiel abandoned TSI. Experience tells me the real reason is likely not the one offered up for public consumption. Does anyone really believe the technology does not exist to create a seastead capable of housing a couple of thousand people? It would be a challenge to build and operate, but not impossible.

There are many different ideas about seasteading. The idea of creating a sovereign state in international waters may be anathema to some and the Holy Grail to others. The same can be said about a smaller development with little or no government and a more transient community. FWIW, I view the latter as little more than an RV park on the water. If that’s what you want it’s easy enough to buy a boat today and simply move from one anchorage to the next; no further development is needed.

The more I think about this, the most significant roadblocks to developing a large-scale sovereign seastead are not technological. They are legal and political: citizenship; travel reciprocity and visas; treaties with other nations; free movement of goods; legal framework and jurisprudence for citizens; global taxation issues; etc.

A project of this scale would require significant financial resources (another roadblock). If, however, favorable tax treatment for citizens can be achieved then a project becomes much more attractive for individuals and, potentially, corporations. Lots of postulations needed :slight_smile:

(Wilfried Ellmer) #10

The picture was painted that “nations will extend their jurisdiction farer and farer out until no space of freedom is left” - i honestly doubth that - the freedom of the seas is strong and it will stay so for good reasons explained earlier… | use the forum search function to search for | oceanic freedom | ugly 4 | The economic realities and practicability shape the concept of freedom of the oceans - not legal hairsplitting - not gunboat politics | not nationalistic pretentions |

For very practical reasons the freedom of the seas starts a meter from the pier not miles out in the open ocean...(search:Is the freedom of the ocean divided in zones ? - not really)

(.) #12

Yes, that sounds true to me. That is what I experience.

(.) #13

There seems to be a certain degree of freedom by just having a boat.
A boat can be housing and a transportation too.
Not to mention, going somewhere, it can be housing when I get there.
Such as sailing to Tahiti with a sailboat, 30-40’. can be a way of transportation to
there. It can be used as housing, when there. It can be used for local transportation.
And it is a way of transportation to go somewhere else from Tahiti.
French Polynesian waters are patrolled by the French Navy. Upon entry to FP waters,
a deposit has to be paid. This deposit is given back when the boat leaves, but they
are not in the hurry to pay the money back. It is usually in the $2000 range if I am right.

(Anette Mor) #21

The claims on that grounds were already made for Arctic zone, at least by Russia and Canada. Because there is direct access to resources through these claims. Clearly if something of value was built on the territory with the same status, a closest state can claim that development, not as property but as part of thier sovereign state for the purpose of charging tax and imposing policies.

A technology which does not need the platforms being fixed to the bottom could solve the issue. Or if just few bottom fixing elements built while the floating platform can be moved to another location where another set of fixing beams was built.

It feels sovereignty is an important part of the project and there has to be a plan B to secure it.