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Royal Thai Navy Brings Controversial SeaStead Ashore from Phuket Coast

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PHUKET – A task force from the Royal Thai Navy has removed a floating home installation, better known as a seastead, that was anchored 22.2 kilometers off the coast of Phuket.

The attorney-general decided to proceed with the case, with the authorities saying the structure would be kept as an exhibit in legal action against its former occupants, an American businessman and his Thai wife.

Officers from the Third Naval Area Command and the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Center invited members of the media to board a patrol boat and observe the removal of the seastead, after inspections found that the structure was unstable.

The authorities had decided to enforce the law to remove the residential structure as it could create problems if left untouched.

During the removal process, naval officers disassembled the steel poles from each side of the floating octagonal house and used a tow boat to transport the structure to the shore. It is being kept as an exhibit in planned legal action.

The seastead was set up by American businessman Chad Andrew Elwartowsky and his Thai wife Supranee “Nadia” Thepdet. Seasteading is a concept of building permanent, autonomous dwellings at sea, called SeaSteads, outside the territory claimed by any government.

The Royal Thai Navy has reiterated that this seastead was set up within Thai maritime territory. The navy has taken legal action against the couple for allegedly breaching Section 119 of the Criminal Code, which covers any act that causes the country or parts of it to fall under the sovereignty of a foreign state or results in deterioration of the state’s independence.

By Praphorn Praphornkul