Naval Forts and the Pacific


#1

This is just an idea I had floating in my head and I’d like some opinions from more technically knowledgable people.

Some of the few examples of successful seasteads are naval forts such as Roughs Tower AKA the infamous Sealand which is a Maunsell Fort and Spitbank Fort which is now a luxury hotel, the fort was originally built in the 19th century.

In the Pacific Ocean there are numerous atolls and islands that are submerging due to sea level rise as well as a number of shallow tablemounts. Such as a number of islands in the Solomon islands which recently submerged.

While the islands may have disappeared the water should still be somewhat shallow. Would it therefore be at all technically feasible to sink and connect a number of Maunsell Forts to form a Sealand type seastead in these locations? Or will the land erosion continue to such an extent that it won’t be feasible?

Costs shouldn’t be too bad as they are mostly made of concrete and steel although towing is of course an issue. Anyway, looking forward to your thoughts.


(Matias Volco) #2

I like the idea, but I think we should leave the submerging atolls in peace and anchor a proper floating island next to it so we can benefit from their pristine environment in lieu of further destroy it. :slight_smile:

The question is why you would prefer the entire structure to have “earth surface foundations” instead of going with nature and the tides.

Reclaiming land from the ocean is already a profitable multibillion dollar industry - if very close to a large urban center that is - and it is far from an optimal solution. > Ever wondered what happened to " The World " islands in Dubaiy?


#3

The islands in the Solomon islands that have recently been submerged were normal islands, not atolls, so in that case nothing of value would be lost by sinking a fort there.

A floating seastead is pretty simple, just get a sailboat or a yacht. I’m just wondering how technically feasible my idea would be in practice.


(Matias Volco) #4

[quote=“Husker, post:1, topic:1812”]
While the islands may have disappeared the water should still be somewhat shallow. Would it therefore be at all technically feasible to sink and connect a number of Maunsell Forts to form a Sealand type seastead in these locations? Or will the land erosion continue to such an extent that it won’t be feasible?

Costs shouldn’t be too bad as they are mostly made of concrete and steel although towing is of course an issue. .
[/quote] It is completely feasible much like a Kelong has been feasible for thousands of years, I don’t know about the cost or safety of replicating the Thames Estuary model in the middle of the World Ocean; but I am involved in a group “Marinea” that began aiming to do exactly that in the shallow Cay Sal of the Bahamas, right between Miami and Cuba, but far from inhabited territories. The probem of creating one or many Forts like Spitbank or Boyard is indeed the extreme cost and pointless Giza Pyramids level-difficulty of fighting against nature’s most clear intentions.

We soon abandoned the kelong or Munsell fort approach in favor of a completely floating oversized conrete pod to be then ballasted and ran aground on a desired sandy spot, but still able to rise with the hurricane swells that are expected yearly in the area. The obvious advantage of the floating approach is the ability to move elsewhere for political, economic, and more importantly safety reasons (the erosion you mention, the hurricanes I did)
As more pods are added they can be connected and look like this, except bridges might be fare better as submerged hanging tunnels leaving all surface to the already communicating water like Venice.

we don’t know it might enhance the shallow water ecosystem, but the alternative of leaving it, or returning it to virgin nature would be indeed lost. biology is fluid. I want to increase the number of artificial coasts via platforms and concrete icebergs and cluster around at a safe distance from flourishing ecosystems being returned to non human nature. This is purely for my selfish pleasure of snorkeling around fishies I like to see and crustaceans that I like to eat.

A floating seastead is indeed simple and scalable, and I also believe it already exists as an embryo in the shipping industry, yachtie community, and other more promising projects.


#5

I guess that all depends on your definitions of ‘simple’ and ‘seastead’…

In all honesty, my 1st attempt toward a seastead will BE a yacht, of the intended design, just incomplete and insufficient size for my requirement of self-sufficiency, to be a seastead. As I said “my requirement”… In addition, I belive a seastead might be mobile, yet a permanently moored, unpowered (ie no sails, no motors). and capable of surviving the storms would be a far more effective and plausible thing to call a seastead.

Jeff Frusha


(Matias Volco) #6

Agree, It can be both things, and not quiet a propulsion motor, but it can have a rudder or a minimal system of course correction to drift with the currents in orbits. like the Kampachi Farms, Vellela Project discussed in Aquaculture


(Larry G) #7

I always thought the Marinea project had potential other than the grandiose scale. Lots and lots of people purchase floating docks made of concrete. They are not out of reach for private persons, small businesses, and even private residences.

A shallow bank, in a place where there’s not a overwhelming amount of government interference, protected by a chain of islands has a LOT of technical options. Purpose-scuttled structures floated into place, jack-up barges, shallow draft anchorage of floating structures, artificial islands, all kinds of possibilities. Compared to the surface of the world, shallow banks are a tiny candidate pool of new living space, but in absolute terms at human scale, it’s still quite large.

http://www.concretebarges.com/project_history.php

It appears that part of the reason scuttled ships have had some mixed success in creating artificial reef structures, is that they are basically designed to roll with the waves. This doesn’t change once they are on the bottom. Caisson style breakwater/barge structures don’t seem to have quite the same problems, as evidenced by the Mulberry harbor experience.

A purpose-built live-aboard barge (or set of them) purpose-scuttled in Cay Sal would have a fairly reasonable price tag, especially compared to purchasing a private island, and has the advantage that you’re not stuck with only what nature randomly provides. You could build your shelter into the basic structure of the ‘island’ and therefore be much more secure against storms. The biggest technical problem for residing on the ocean (after reliable flotation) is fresh water and vegetation. A number of means of addressing this problem exist, however poorly understood and distributed.

Might be harder to do in the Pacific, simply due to being MUCH further to tow. The Pacific islands are also mostly stuck in a tribal government structure or with a government that recognizes tribal/communal land ownership legal structures, with very complicated land and fishing rights. Large swathes have been put of limits to residence or exploitation as marine sanctuaries. Doesn’t matter how good your intentions, anything new is verboten.

What does it cost to build a concrete barge?

As of December 1, 2014, the price for a new barge 16’ x 32’ x 6’ with 6" walls, is $97 per square foot for a total of $49,664. This price includes fusion coated steel reinforcing, two coats of Cold tar Epoxy or equal, 5/8" x 10" hot dipped galvanized anchor bolts @ 48" it the top of the walls, and one hot dipped galvanized mooring bracket in each corner.

The same barge with geopolymer concrete and basalt reinforcing rather than steel might differ a bit, but should be in the same realm. A barge that is designed to be floated into place and then settled on a shallow bottom might vary a bit more- thicker/thinner walls, perhaps less concern about quality control in thickness, because it doesn’t have to stay balanced for long. Slightly different outer dimensions or shape because it isn’t meant for hydrodynamic flow efficiency.

http://www.aquamaison.com/FAQ.asp#costs

Portland market trends indicate an increase of $42,250 (12%) in median home sales over the past year. The average price per square foot for this same period rose to $324, up from $284.

https://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Portland-Oregon/market-trends/

Of course, outfitting a platform costs more than just building the floating part.


#8

An alternative example: N’Kossa barge was basically moored in tension, like a tension-leg platform, against its’ buoyancy, rather than the scuttling/gravity-base idea


(Matias Volco) #9

Marinea still has potential, and the location triangulated among Miami, Havana, and Bahamas is very enticing.
The shallows may or may not offer a head start, but the structures themselves big or not, shoud be able to be buoyant, like knossa.
Landfilling by whatever name or tecnique, even polderizing, is not relevant to the colonizaton of a fluid medium.


(Matias Volco) #10

Thanks for the links. I was waiting for someone to bring the Sausalito houseboats more in depth.
The links and costs you published reflect over regulated American facilities producing platforms for US inland waterways.


(Wilfried Ellmer) #11

That is a very important statement…anyhing that has no potential to be applied on the whole watermantle of the planet (permanent floating) is a shortfall and basicly a pointless experiment that in the best of cases just repeates what Venice has done already 1500 years ago. | Are we off topic yet ?


(Larry G) #12

They don’t have to float all the time. Gravity based structures are floated into place all the time, and then floated to new locations at other points in time.

Perhaps so…regulations tend to be about avoiding liability (and limiting competition) rather than avoiding risk, more often than not. Once the lawyers get involved, lots of things go sideways. One would not want to try to live on a floating structure whose builder paid no attention to safety, however. Lots of systems that have low-probability, high consequence are over-engineered for reasons of safety even when it costs a lot more.

Possibly, the over-engineered platforms for U.S. inland waterways, would be a long way toward reasonably-safe platforms for the Gulf/ Caribbean.


(Matias Volco) #13

I don’t see how welfare for lawyers translates into marine safety

Are we off topic yet ?

From “naval forts” ? Let’s zoon in on this thought

A purpose-built live-aboard barge(s) (of whatever shape) purpose-scuttled (or purpose synchronically-drifting, or anchored)
would have a fairly reasonable price tag, especially compared to
> purchasing a private island, and has the advantage that you’re not
stuck with only what nature randomly provides. You could **build your **
> shelter into the basic structure of the ‘island’ and therefore be much
more secure against storms. The biggest technical problem for residing
on the ocean (after reliable flotation) is fresh water and vegetation. A
number of means of addressing this problem exist,

Bingo! This is the exact idea behind Marinea, perhaps because it originated out of common ground of those interested in the first stages of seasteading. Phase 1 toward 2?

Yes, all human habitats need clean freshwater to grow. What are those little understood ways to get it?

Why is vegetation so important apart from the psychological angle?

Is a floating harbor a mothership? How do you picture a yachtie affordable private island set up? In addition to the obvious less expense of an artificial product vs a natural virgin island, what other benefits do you see to a purpose built small island or archipelago?


(Larry G) #14

Yes, we know how to get water, and many places depend upon built infrastructure as much as natural resources. But where did we build Hoover Dam? We built it where we could conveniently concentrate a natural resource. We didn’t build a valley with mountains in each side and then plumb a river into it.

All the places where the (massively dense) population depends on built infrastructure rather than having an abundance of natural resources, are place with huge amounts of disaster risk. And they are uniformly expensive places to live, with large sub-populations who struggle financially.

As for vegetation, importing all fresh food is both a huge expense, and a huge risk, and is not as healthy as being immersed the n a food web.


(Larry G) #15

Maybe.

I don’t really picture a yachtie private island. I picture a working private island. Yachting lifestyles are not supportable without outside income. I always aim toward endemically supportable in these conversations. The mostly tribal organization of existing small island life is unfortunately inefficient, and a corporate structure would be better-particularly an employee-owned corporation.

Right now, existing international law and custom are moderately opposed to political independence for artificial islands. I still see that as an easier fight than wresting independence from the territory of an existing nation.


(Larry G) #16

B[quote=“Matias, post:13, topic:1812”]
I don’t see how welfare for lawyers translates into marine safety
[/quote]

Or any other safety, most of the time. But without some standards everybody starts from zero every time.

Cicero:

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”


(Matias Volco) #17

I don’t see how welfare for scribes and lawyers translates into either Insurance Standards or knowledge of history


I don’t really picture a yachtie private island. I picture a working
private island. Yachting lifestyles are not supportable without outside
income. I always aim toward endemically supportable in these
conversations. The mostly tribal organization of existing small island
and a corporate structure would be
better-particularly an employee-owned corporation.

Picture a yachtie-only island as a residential neighborhood with some commercial services. Not to speak of internet capabilities.
A super’yachtie island would have a worker / parasite ratio of 3:1
without counting the support workers on shore.
Worker owned, billionaire owned. Does it matter when you have total flexibility and endless combinations?

You mention tribal islands. I believe the paleo-“movement” is broadly correct in that we are aiming at freeing ourselves from the short temporary slavery to the soil produced by farming. But it doesn’t mean a verbatim copy of a reality we never knew, on the contrary it means a new system with new creatures.

Just as if not more important creatures than software, are Corporations.

They are conflicting though because their existence-credibility by necessity had to stem from the Land Governments, but they offer a plastic medium that we can mold and re mold to our own evolving needs. With more mutually recognized independent countries than ever before the government-taint of the corporation equation is all but eliminated. A website is a somewhat evolved concept from the corporation.


(Larry G) #18

The infrastructure and economic problems that small islands face are exactly the problems a floating “island” will face. It only makes sense to look to the existing for both obstacles to overcome and the means to do so.

-Fresh water is a huge problem for small islands.
-Sustainable agriculture and food supply (sufficiency and diversity) is a huge problem for ( you know the rest).
-Fuel.
-Transportation.
-education, expertise, skills

The things that might differ for An artificial island floating or not, is the initial starting point of personnel. You are likely to attract particular skill sets, but also have the disadvantage of no existing social stability or interpersonal loyalty. You might gain some benefit of location, but even small islands that exist on the coastline of large prosperous nations experience inflated costs for all of the above.

With an artificial island, I can easily picture construction that passively fosters a freshwater lens. Harder to do while floating.


(Matias Volco) #19

The things that differ for an artifical island is that it’s mobile, man made, etc, much like how a small island differs from a very slow ship, you know the rest.

The small island comparison is only useful to picture the build-your-own private tropical island, which is one of many proposals.

When I say purpose built, man made, corporate, I don’t mean planned in a centralized Communist way, I have no idea how Naval Forts in the Pacific, or the economic feasability of a project like Marinea turned into micromanaging the population of whatever project we’re discussing.


a huge lot of Ocean Colonization is also Ocean Exploration and there are projects, like the Mid Atlantic Underwater Mining Town, that would require an isolated and rigurous spaceship set up, not unlike what you might find in Antarctica (with the difference that Antarctica is mostly all government inst.)

At the same time, in no way mutually exclusive, you might find a small or not so small floating island acting as a seamless extension of a coastal city - like Monaco’s breakwater, Gibraltar’s cruise ship hotel, or Cartagena Marine Cluster and its proposed seastead in between a dense growing city with its intl airport and a string of paradise islands.

That which works better will survive and thrive, the market and then evolution will favor many different and quirky adaptations of the most succesful models.


(Larry G) #20

Yes, it’s marginally mobile. Placement can make a huge difference in lifestyle for island inhabitants. Man-made gives opportunities for improvement, and for mistakes, lack of foresight equally.

And yet the difference between a seastead and slow ship has been noted many times, in that the intention of staying on it full time permanently changes a lot of things- accommodations that are perfectly acceptable for a single, working male for a few weeks or months at a time, in return for reasonable pay, are not acceptable for families to live on permanently, as a lifestyle.

I disagree. The small island comparison is useful for a wide variety of seastead proposals, floating and gravity-based. The problems are similar. The technological solutions are often similar. The social aspects are similar. the business aspects have a few points of uniqueness and many similarities.