The Royal Thai Navy is conducting an extensive search for two individuals that have reportedly built a floating home on a platform off the coast of Phuket.
Chad Andrew Elwartowski and his Thai wife Supranee Thepdet have apparently been seasteading since March 2, 2019.
Thepdet also goes by the name Nadia Summergirl. The couple decided to begin seasteading as they wanted to lead a free life. The couple originally planned to host their seastead in international waters in order to be exempt from state jurisdictions. However, the Navy sees the seastead as an illegal occupation of Thai waters and plans to demolish it soon.
Before retiring to permanently live off the coast, Andrew claimed that he would liquidate his Bitcoin (BTC) holdings to fund their dream of owning a floating house.
Engineering firm Ocean Builders designed and developed the first seastead just beyond 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket, Thailand on February 2, 2019. The company planned to develop 20 more seasteads contingent on a positive reception of the first.
Andrew and Supranee’s floating seastead is a two-storeyed octagon that measures six square meters.
According to Andrew, the main attraction for him to live on a floating house was finding true liberty. Living off the coast in a seastead had been his dream for over a decade. The couple’s life on the floating house was even filmed and released as a documentary entitled ‘The First Seasteaders.’
Their dream, however, has come crashing down after the Royal Thai Navy filed charges against the couple at the Wichit police station in Phuket. A case under section 119 of the Criminal Code of the Thai Constitution was lodged, related to the sovereignty of Thailand.
Ocean Builders, the company that developed the seastead, had not sought permission from Thai authorities before deploying the seastead. The company said it wanted to wait for a public response before seeking approval.
The Royal Thai Navy, however, is of the opinion that the couple wanted to establish a new, independent state within Thai boundaries, which is illegal per local laws.
Some officers in the Navy claim to have evidence that Andrew and Supranee wanted to establish an independent state by exploiting certain loopholes in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The Navy claims that their seastead was situated inside Thai waters and blocked a key sea route. On April 13, 2019, officers from the Third Area Command of the Royal Thai Navy were sent to establish radio contact with the couple, who are now on the run.
In a recent Facebook post, Chad Elwartowski suggested that if they were caught, the Thai government would have them killed without a fair trial.
Do you think the couple will face legal consequences for their actions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.