Continuously opining, intermittently publishing.
10
September

The True Obstacle to the Autonomy of Seasteads

Posted by oshane | Leave a comment at the end of this post.

Here is a revamp of my article, The True Obstacle to the Autonomy of Seasteads: American Law Enforcement Jurisdiction over Homesteads on the High Seas, which the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journalφ recently and graciously published (July 2012).

The article analyzes the intersection of American criminal law enforcement in admiralty with the proposed, anticipated, and future uses of seasteads to create politically autonomous communities on the ocean. This part of my conclusion summarizes the paper:

The conundrum of seasteading is that leaving the authority of nationstates behind may be a harder task than sailing headlong into the throes of the sea. The irony is that the nation proclaimed as the “land of the free” could shackle these twenty-first century frontiersmen in their quest for greater autonomy with broad pre-existing assertive notions of jurisdiction. American jurisdiction over the high seas is plenary. Not only does it contravene parts of international law, courts do not necessarily relinquish it even when American officers arrest a vessel or a person on the high seas illegally.

On the other hand, the United States is least likely to interfere with a vessel that does not engage in the activities it is trying to prevent. So long as a seastead does not attempt to illegally take the resources in or violate the health regulations of the United States’ EEZ, and so long as the seastead enters the contiguous zone while fully disclosing its cargo and manifest, it should incur a minimum of ongoing interference from the United States.

It’s full citation is:

O. Shane Balloun, The True Obstacle to the Autonomy of Seasteads: American Law Enforcement Jurisdiction over Homesteads on the High Seas, 24 U.S.F. Mar. L.J. 409 (2012).

φ My thanks go to the 2011–12 Editor-in-Chief, Ryan Carter, and Executive Articles Editor, Allie Polatin, for their work on the final published draft.

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