Seasteading – the concept of creating autonomous communities at sea – offers a sustainable solution to dealing with abandoned oil rigs and other redundant offshore platforms. In theory, seasteads would be established beyond the territories claimed by national governments, and some would even be mobile. As eccentric as it sounds, there’s a substantial movement to make this form of oceanic dwelling a reality by 2014.
(Image: Richard Lazenby, public domain)
The term can be traced to the works of two people – Ken Neumeyer and Wayne Gramlich – and proposals range from refitted cruise ships and adapted oil rigs to decommissioned anti-aircraft platforms and custom-built floating islands. To date, no autonomous states exist on the high seas that are recognised as sovereign nations, although the Principality of Sealand (above) – a disputed micronation located on an abandoned sea fort near the UK coast – might disagree.
Various other seasteading proposals have been put forward, including spar platforms and modular islands. In 2009, the Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort called ClubStead, equivalent in size to a city block. With a focus on community, the Institute hopes to launch the first seastead in San Francisco Bay in 2014. Despite the legal issues, the concept at least presents an sustainable means of dealing with abandoned sea platforms in a community driven environment.