Seasteading Andaman Sea couple in hiding after death penalty threat

Seasteading Andaman Sea couple in hiding after death penalty threat

Seasteading Andaman Sea couple in hiding after death penalty threat

An USA expat and his Thai girlfriend are facing the death penalty for seasteading off Thailand’s sea coast.

For adventurous expatriates, the sky used to be the limit, but in this case it’s the sea which was the location for a couple’s chosen 'des res'. Expat Bitcoin investor and seasteader Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend Nadia Supranee had decided a floating home was their lifestyle choice, at least for a short while, and moved into the two-storey concrete houseboat set in international waters a short distance from Thailand’s territorial marine borders.

As visa rules, regulations and other restrictions have become stricter over the past few years, the idea of self-build seasteading as a means to live outside restrictive bureaucracy has become more popular as an alternative lifestyle. At present, several large-scale projects are at the development stage, but Chad’s two-storey octagonal dwelling in the Andaman Sea was one of the first to be occupied. The couple got the idea from Ocean Builders’ pilot profile, with Chad and Nadia volunteering to live on the structure for a while as the very first seasteaders in order to test and popularise the project.

Unfortunately, the couple didn’t take into account Thailand’s paranoid rules as regards the safety and security of the country, and found themselves accused of living as a ‘micronation’ inside Thai waters, even although the structure was placed 13 nautical miles off the coastline, one n-mile from Thai waters. Thai Navy personnel boarded the structure accompanied by Phuket maritime police, saying it was a hazard to shipping and contravened Thai maritime law, having first ordered the Thai immigration office to invalidate Chad’s visa and blacklist him.

The couple have been in hiding ever since they realised the accusation of threatening Thailand’s sovereignty carries a penalty of either life imprisonment or death. According to reports, the US Embassy are assisting the couple and a lawyer has been provided. Both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders are horrified, with the would-be seasteader telling reporters he’s scared he may be given the death penalty for simply living for a few weeks on a floating house far out in the Andaman Sea. The couple deny having done anything wrong and are awaiting further developments.

The entire mess would seem to be a warning shot across the bows of the expanding expat exodus now taking place as more and more expat professionals seek a better way of life than that on offer in their home countries. Given the entire concept would seem crazy to many professionals looking for a less restrictive life in which to fulfil their ambitions, the movement is in total contradiction with establishment dreams of more and more control over what’s acceptable and what isn’t. IT-savvy millennials are considered by many to provide answers to the growing instability of the world order, but the bureaucrats attempting to prevent them aren’t in agreement.

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