Piracy is one of the possible threats a Seastead may face.
Piracy isn't a major concern in most of the world's oceans in the present day, however in certain areas of the world it is an issue. A Seastead, unlike a commercial vessel, is a less opportune target and may be a riskier target for any potential attack. The crew of a commercial cargo vessel has little to no incentive to protect the vessel or its cargo during a pirate attack. Captives are rarely hurt and ransoms are delivered for the crew, but more specifically to recover the vessel and cargo, which can potentially reach 9-figure sums. A Seastead on the other hand is likely to carry very little precious cargo (personal possessions likely of no greater than an individuals on-land home would hold) and wouldn't receive the million-dollar ransom payouts that are common with seaborne piracy.
Another factor to consider with Seasteading is that many designs are highly-defensible. A Seastead of a semi-submersible design has very little access between its platform and the ocean below. This enables the Seasteaders to keep the high-ground very easily. As notable with many oil platforms, access may only be available to the platform via helicopter, which essentially rules out any hostile takeover from an ocean borne threat.
Within a nations territorial waters, they fall under the protection of said countries coastguard. However in international waters a Seastead may well receive no support by the occupants country of citizenship or any nearby territory. In international waters Seasteaders could potentially be forced to defend their homes themselves, which under international law would be well within their rights. An armed response by a highly defensible Seastead could potentially be all that is required to deal with a pirate threat, and it is notable that many recorded pirate attacks were performed using inflatable vessels known as 'Combat Rubber Raiding Craft' (CRRC's). Whilst these vessels are designed to withstand punctures, they're more intended for stealth than sustaining fire. Most CRRC's have room for 10 occupants in a space of less than 100 square feet, and when fully occupied have limited range. A high passenger density in a small area would leave any pirate at great risk under fire, and while violence shouldn't be the first choice, it certainly shouldn't be overlooked by any Seasteader intending to live in the open ocean.
Pirates are rumored to usually disengage at the first sign that the target has any kind of weapons. If they did not, then Incendiary ammunition aimed at their gas tank seems worth a try.
- Piracy Under International Law
- Legal Framework for the Repression of Piracy Under UNCLOS
- PBS Interactive Piracy Map
- International Chamber of Commerce Piracy Map
- Wikipedia on piracy
- Modern High Seas Piracy The Cargo Letter on the rise of piracy.
- Modern Pirates of the Caribbean Article by Blue Water Insurance
- An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization Peter T. Leeson, George Mason University describing pirates as Seasteaders avant la lettre.
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