By CCN: The Thai Navy has dismantled the floating sea cabin of U.S. bitcoin investor and seasteading advocate Chad Elwartowski. His Thai girlfriend Supranee Thepdet was living with him in the seastead. The Thai Navy boarded the boat over the weekend and returned its pieces to shore in three boats. The Thai government plans to use the dismantled floating home as evidence in a case against Elwartowsi and Thepdet.
The two are on the run and have engaged the U.S. embassy. The couple says that the Royal Thai Government is pressing to have them tried and killed for violating the Southeast Asian country’s national sovereignty. It’s a crime that carries the death penalty in Thailand. Luckily, when the authorities moved to seize the vessel, the two had fled; Elwartowski had spotted a surveillance plane flying overhead the day before.
Seasteading Is Not A Crime
Although the government of Thailand maintains the seasteaders violated its national sovereignty, the couple most certainly did not. They did not engage in sedition against the government. They did not attempt to overthrow it, nor did they encourage anyone to break its laws. They simply chose to peacefully withdraw from its territory.
In the style of history’s millions of homesteaders who left their countries and built something for themselves in unexplored and unsettled lands, this couple is a pair of explorers and pioneers. They are obviously not criminals.
In a statement released Monday, Patri Friedman, the chairman of the Seasteading Institute, “urged compassion” for the pair. Friedman insists “their actions were no threat to Thai sovereignty.”
Seasteading Goes Mainstream
The Thai government’s response to the seasteading couple has sent shock waves throughout the international community and media. These events have likely spurred the most mainstream media coverage that the burgeoning seasteading movement has ever received. It is unfortunate that this publicity has come at so great and unfair a personal cost to two of the movement’s pioneers.
Seasteaders seek to settle humanity’s next frontier – this planet’s vast and abundant oceans.
The seasteading movement received a huge boost in 2008 when billionaire libertarian and tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel invested nearly $2 million in the Seasteading Institute. The rise of seasteading certainly introduces questions about national and individual sovereignty, but these challenges should be met with reason and understanding by the world’s sovereign states, not naked aggression.