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Sun Sep 12, 2021, 09:57 PM

They Bought a Cruise Ship and Planned a Utopia. It Didn't Work

Last edited Sun Sep 12, 2021, 10:41 PM - Edit history (2)

They Bought a Cruise Ship and Planned a Utopia. It Didn't Work
Inside the short life of the cruise ship Satoshi


https://www.newser.com/story/310752/they-tried-to-create-a-utopia-at-sea-it-didnt-work.html?utm_source=part&utm_medium=uol&utm_campaign=rss_top

To understand why three men bought themselves a cruise ship last fall, you need to know a little bit about "seasteading." It's the idea of moving to the sea, where, unbound by the land and the governments and regulations tied to it, people could experiment with new ways of living. Grant Romundt, Rüdiger Koch, and Chad Elwartowski met in 2017, united by their interest in seasteading. They founded the company Ocean Builders, funded a pilot sea home off Thailand (that ended poorly, which is a whole other story), and started manufacturing homes called SeaPods. A combination of slow progress on the pods and the impact COVID had on the value of cruise ships led them, in October, to spend a reported $9.5 million on a ship they redubbed the Satoshi. With the blessing of the Panama government they would dock it off that country's shores without owing Panama taxes. On board, they hoped, would be freedom-loving crypto-investors.

Just four months later, the dream was dead, writes Sophie Elmhirst for the Guardian in a lengthy look at what went wrong between the ship departing Cyprus for Panama on Oct. 29 and its Feb. 23 exit from Panama. There are reasons aplenty, from the challenge of getting wealthy crypto-entrepreneurs interested in leaving their luxe accommodations for a tiny cabin that didn't even have a microwave, to bigger problems like their inability to find insurance. They soon discovered that in their quest to escape regulations, they had become a part of one of the most regulated industries on the planet, and Panama was unwilling to let them drop anchor and de-register as a ship; they'd have to sail out to sea about every 3 weeks to discharge their sewage anyway. (Read the full story for more hiccups along the way, and to learn about the captain and 40-person crew who temporarily manned the Satoshi.)

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/sep/07/disastrous-voyage-satoshi-cryptocurrency-cruise-ship-seassteading



Marketing of the Satoshi soon began in earnest. Her 777 cabins were to be auctioned off between 5 and 28 November, while the ship was crossing the Atlantic towards Panama. Viva Vivas listed the options, including cabins with no windows ($570 a month), an ocean view ($629), or a balcony ($719). Ocean Builders held a series of live video calls for potential customers which attracted 200 people at a time, Olthuis told me, with Romundt, an expert steward of the multilateral video call, at the helm.

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The final entry on the FAQ page, regarding the possibility of having pets on board, gave a bracing insight into the tension between the idea of freedom and the reality of hundreds of people closely cohabiting on a cruise ship. The answer linked to a separate document, containing a 14-point list of conditions including one that declared no animal should exceed 20lbs in weight, and any barking or loud noises could not last for longer than 10 minutes. If a pet repeatedly disturbed the peace – more than three times a month or five times in a year – it would no longer be allowed to live on board. “Any pet related conflict,” instructed point 13, “shall be resolved in accordance with Section V (F) of the Satoshi Purchase Agreement or Section IV (F) of the Satoshi Master Lease, where applicable.” Dogs would only be permitted in balcony cabins, and it was advised that owners buy a specific brand of “porch potty”, a basket of fake grass where your pet could relieve itself. (Pet waste thrown overboard would result in a $200 fine.)

One Reddit respondent – maxcoiner on Reddit, Luke Parker in real life – was as close to the target market of the Satoshi as it was possible to imagine. A longtime follower of the seasteading movement, he was also such an early and successful bitcoin adopter that he and his wife were able to retire early thanks to their investments. The Satoshi was the most plausible idea for a seastead he’d ever heard. “I did not buy a room during the Satoshi’s sale window,” he told me over email, “but it was hard to keep my hand off that button.”

A variety of considerations held him back. “The wife,” as he put it, had her doubts. He wasn’t sure about the “ginormous leap down in luxury” from living in deep residential comfort on land in the US midwest to living in a very small cabin on board a 30-year-old cruise ship. He was worried, too, by the limited facilities – “No kitchen of my own? Tiny bathrooms? Tiny everything?” Also, the constant rocking of the ship on the water: “I just can’t stomach that life around the clock.” He preferred the idea of the SeaPods. If Parker was going to live on a boat, he concluded, he’d prefer to buy his own luxury catamaran.


*** READ THE SUPER LONG ARTICLE AT THE GUARDIAN LINK****

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 10:32 PM

1. So, living in close quarters requires rules to make it work for everyone.

Who knew?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 11:59 PM

8. "Well, there goes my idea for the libertarian commune"...

If these loons had been of an earlier generation, they probably would have wanted to name the ship the “S.S. Galt’s Gulch.”

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 10:36 PM

2. Oh yeah because cruise ship labor camps always work well. Ask Scientology.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 10:52 PM

3. Why not just turn them into casinos, day tours out to the 20 mi intl waters mark and back?

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 11:05 PM

4. If they do it to avoid taxes

Then they can provide security themselves. In other words no countries will protect them with their Coast Guards or Navy. An entire ship of hostages.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 11:28 PM

5. This shit is comedy gold . . .

It's like an 18-year-old who just got a Dodge Charger for graduation discovering just how expensive insurance is for an 18-year-old with a Dodge Charger.

Did these people research anything about their Bold New Vision?

"Also, the constant rocking of the ship on the water: “I just can’t stomach that life around the clock.”

Dude, it's a fucking ship sitting in the middle of the ocean.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 11:46 PM

6. You have to put gold fringe on your flag, or it doesn't work...

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Sun Sep 12, 2021, 11:52 PM

7. This is such an unbelievably bad idea executed as ineptly as they could manage.

It's as close to being a satire as it is a real-life story. With some fleshing-out of the more peripheral characters, like Luke Parker, it could be a reboot of a Confederacy of Dunces.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:00 AM

9. Libertarians and anarchists: wouldn't want to live with either in charge...

It’s amazing (and hilarious) that one of the worst issues turned out to be people’s pets AKA their “fur babies.”

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:13 AM

10. The headline alone is Laugh out Loud funny!!!!

By the end of the first sentence of the sales pitch I'd be running for the door.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:26 AM

11. We took one cruise 25 years ago and got off at the 2nd port.

I know some people love them, but to us the entire cruise thing was hell on earth. Stuck in the ocean with a bunch of drunken, rude people whose entire reason for living seemed to be eating. We had the crew arrange with customs to allow us off at the 2nd port of call.

Could not imagine anyone wanting to live on one of those floating petri dishes.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:17 AM

12. What a bunch of airheads!

I kept shaking my head as I was reading this. The whole saga is an endless chain of stupid mistakes based on poor judgment and a complete failure to investigate what they were getting into and even attempt to plan for it.

I don't have much patience for people who think they can just invent their own personal world without rules and proceed to live in it with even bothering to find out if what they want to do is actually possible. Of course, I don't have much patience for libertarianism in general, and this article was a strong reminder of why I feel that way.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:34 AM

13. No Gods or Kings. Only man.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:45 AM

14. I will watch the Steve Carell version though.

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