It was supposed to be the “first seastead in international waters”—a small white box protruding from the waves off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, occupied by two would-be pioneers who decided to live there in the pursuit of a new life unfettered by national laws.
But now, Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet (AKA Nadia Summergirl), say they’re on the run.
According to the Bangkok Post, the Royal Thai Navy filed a criminal complaint with police under a section of the criminal code that concerns threats to national sovereignty. Violations of this section of the criminal code are punishable by life in prison or death, the Post noted.
The six-meter wide structure, known as XLII, was supposed to be the first real application of “seasteading,” a libertarian idea that advocates for new societies to form on structures floating in international waters. According to Ocean Builders, the startup behind the project, the structure was allegedly located in international waters, 12 miles off the coast but still within Thailand’s exclusive economic zone.
After it launched in early 2019, Elwartowski and Thepdet—volunteers, according to Ocean Builders—moved in. Elwartowski, a Bitcoin enthusiast, told me he had enough in cryptocurrency holdings to retire and Thepdet posts