back to article Pirate island attracts more than 100 startup tenants

Over 100 international tech companies have registered their interest in the floating geek city, Blueseed, which will be launched next year in international waters outside of Silicon Valley. The visa-free, start-up friendly concept launched late last year aims to create a fully commercial technology incubator where global …


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  1. Gray
    Big Brother

    International waters?

    Considering that the U.S. considers all oceans everywhere as being under U.S. control, the "geekship" presence just off the continental U.S. will probably be labeled a floating drug smuggling enterprise, and will be boarded by U.S. forces and taken under tow to a U.S. port for a thorough search. Confiscation of ship and impoundment of crew to follow.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: International waters?

      But first they will use the new DARPA board-o-bots. After all, use of robots for various hunt/kill operations pretty much anywhere are "fully compatible with international law" as one hears from White House legal beagles.

    2. LarsG

      Re: International waters?


    3. Blueseed
      Thumb Down

      Re: International waters?

      You, sir, obviously underestimate the PR-awareness of the Blueseed founders :)


    4. Inachu

      Re: International waters?

      Scew the politics. Just imagine the mother of all tidal waves bearing down!

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Tidal waves

        Tidal waves (tsunamis) aren't much bother in international waters, usually. They only gain height when they enter inshore waters and the leading edge of the surge slows, causing the rushing water to pile up.

        Whether the shelf outside the SF bay is shallow enough to be a tsunami risk, I don't know. However, while much of the shelf is in international waters, it's mostly still within the US contiguous zone, so the US would have some legal grounds to challenge them if residents do anything that isn't legal in the US, or if they consider it a tax-dodge...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: International waters?


      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: International waters?


        Nonsense. You posted at 17:47 GMT. School's out for the day.

        1. Richie 1

          Re: International waters?


          > Nonsense. You posted at 17:47 GMT. School's out for the day.

          Also, everyone knows you don't start smoking until 4:20.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: International waters?

        on a bank holiday?

        though it is a good thing that the sceptics have effective patrols and can stop all that home grown weed from crossing the Atlantic to blighty.

      3. kiwimuso
        Thumb Up

        Re: International waters?

        @Big Dumb Guy 555

        You certainly picked the right moniker to match your intellect sir.

        Well done!

      4. Arctic fox

        Re: "LIMEY BRITISH MORON"? I did think about gently pointing out that that.......... an unfortunate example of tautology. However, upon examining the content of your post and taking into account your use of caps lock I am forced to conclude that you probably have never heard of the word and wouldn't understand if you had.

        1. Blitterbug

          Re: tautology

          He should be grateful you didn't say 'pleonasm'...

          1. Arctic fox

            @Blitterbug Re:"Pleonasm". I have to confess that I...........

            ............had to look that one up! LOL.

            1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

              Re: @Blitterbug Pleonasm". I have to confess that I...........

              I think the use of "Pleonasm" was the use of more words than is necessary for clear expression.

      5. Wibble

        Re: International waters?

        > HEY YOU LIMEY

        Brilliant use of irony and sarcasm befitting of a posting to El Reg. I salute you sir!

        Have a warm beer on me. Caution: it may contain alcohol and flavour.

      6. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

        Re: International waters? Dumb Guy 555

        I'm calling troll.

        Yey! Way to troll!

        You gotta troll with it...

        Troll with the punches.

        Rock and troll dude.

        A trolling stone gathers no moss.

        Trolling on the river.

        ...and so forth.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: International waters?

        Marijuana not bad m'kay?

      8. Hollerith 1

        Re: International waters?

        So true, sir, and as American schoolchildren are happily in the same drug-free situation, a big thank you to the US Navy, who save us from evil drugs, terrorists, foreign wars, and every bad thing. Mission accomplished!

      9. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)

        Re: International waters?

        "HEY YOU LIMEY..."

        You've not spent much time in a British Secondary school recently, have you?

        Pipe, because, well...

    6. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: International waters?

      I don't think we've had galley slaves since around the mid-1700's (Henry IV of France).

      Great to see them make a comeback!

  2. vidura


    this is the future of offshoring/bestshoring

    or is that thebestshoring, or noshoring..

    or just another loophole.

  3. tkioz

    I don't see this lasting very long to be honest, too many governments will want control.

    1. Blitterbug

      Re: Too many govnmts will want control...

      Me, I'd be worried more about getting boarded by 'tururists'. Seriously. For a change.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Step 1) Build floating barge, launch NOT under the flag of any country.

      Step 2) Get people to pay you to live there permanently

      Step 3) Get recognised by UN as an independent nation

      Step 4) Cost the US taxman lots of money.

      Step 5) Get labeled as a terrorist training ground and get blown out of the water by the USA,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Step 6) PROFIT!

        Oh, wait...

  4. westlake


    The basics:


    "Each coastal State may claim a territorial sea that extends seaward up to 12 nautical miles (nm) from its baselines. The coastal State exercises sovereignty over its territorial sea, the air space above it, and the seabed and subsoil beneath it. Foreign flag ships enjoy the right of innocent passage while transiting the territorial sea....

    Each coastal State may claim a contiguous zone adjacent to and beyond its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 24 nm from its baselines. In its contiguous zone, a coastal State may exercise the control necessary to prevent the infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea, and punish infringement of those laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea.

    In 1999, eleven years after President Reagan extended the U.S. territorial sea to 12 miles, President Clinton proclaimed contiguous zone extending from 12 to 24 nm offshore.

    Each coastal State may claim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) beyond and adjacent to its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 200 nm from its baselines... Within its EEZ, a coastal State has: (a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing natural resources, whether living or nonliving, of the seabed and subsoil and the superjacent waters and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds; (b) jurisdiction as provided for in international law with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations, and structures, marine scientific research, and the protection and preservation of the marine environment, and (c) other rights and duties provided for under international law.

    The U.S. claimed a 200 nm EEZ in 1983 (Presidential Proclamation No. 5030 of March 10, 1983..."

    Come hell or high water, your floating Utopia needs to remail on station or anchored at least 25 nm out and quite probably more than 200 nm out

    That makes it a very risky and very expensive proposition.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Waterworld

      " ...up to 12 nautical miles (nm) from its baselines."

      Is a 'baseline' the same as what most people think of as a 'coastline'; or do the lawyers have an obscure multi-page definition of the word 'baseline' somewhere?

      1. skellious

        Re: Waterworld

        Unless I'm mistaken, this means from the lowest low-tide mark (sometimes slightly straightened out to prevent silly shapes.)

        I love the idea of this sort of venture and I object to countries making sovereign claims over every damn bit of the world; there needs to be some room left for new settlements or some of the adventure is gone from life.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Waterworld

          Very romantic, but if you read the history of SeaWorld, you'll see that such "adventurers" end up relying on the mainland for a great many things, especially food, water, and emergency search & rescue if anything goes wrong. The idea of being self-sufficient, at sea, outside the aegis of a state, is half-baked. If you're relying on the services of the mainland, avoiding obeying their laws on a technicality is an untenable position. It would be trivial for anyone - governmental or otherwise - to blockade these idiots to enforce compliance with pretty much anything they liked. Who's going to protect them? It's not like they have a navy.

          1. HereIAmJH

            Re: Waterworld

            Unlike Seaworld they are not trying to get around laws sponsored by large lobbying groups. They want to bypass the immigration laws that tech companies are lobbying to change anyway. I don't think they have any intention of being self sufficient either. They'll have no problem finding US citizens to transport supplies to them. I remember when this was first being discussed they expected residents to be able to get day trip visas, and of course they are close enough for company employees to travel to them when necessary. And it gets everyone in the same timezone.

            I do have to wonder if they have given much thought to security though. If they are outside US territorial waters then the Coast Guard has no obligation, or authority, to provide protection for them from people who might want some of that tech that will necessarily be installed.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Waterworld

              Open seas. They can arm themselves if they wish.

        2. Steve Knox

          Re: Waterworld

          I love the idea of this sort of venture and I object to countries making sovereign claims over every damn bit of the world...

          Absolutely. So much better if corporations do so, instead.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Waterworld

            Still better to have a claim based on profit than sovereignty if you ask me. Companies can be bought and sold, unfortunately countries can't as yet.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Waterworld

          This is a disaster waiting to happen. I imagine the IT version of a sex trafficking ring, with no recourse for workers over pay and overtime disputes, the levying of unfair transport occupation charges, etc. Without the possibility of competition or regulation, they can charge whatever they want for food, water, clothing, and utilities. There will be no legal recourse, and no legal protections. It makes Foxconn sound like Disneyland. Not to mention, who is supposed to defend these tax dodgers from piracy or foul weather? To what port can you bring 3,000 illegal aliens in a literal storm?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waterworld

      tell that to the chinese.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waterworld (Not Expensive)

      Why does it have to be expensive? Cruise ships operate out at sea most of their lifetime. All the venture caps need to do is price in the operating costs into the tennancy. It's till cheaper than the cost of the visa process. The one additional item of capex would be a seaplane to bring in tennants direct to the island. Even buying dedicated satellite transponders for comms is not that expensive these days.

  5. Richard 15

    The thing is.

    We have foreign flagged ships running through our waters all the time.

    Not all of them actually stop in the US, but continue on their way to Canada or Mexico, etc.

    Kind of an odd way to do things, but I doubt most of the US would care as it is little different

    than if someone were doing it in another country and use telephony or the like.

    Frankly, most people won't care. The US is mainly concerned about drug smuggling,

    diseases, and people coming here and using the public services without the ability

    to pay the costs involved.

    I'm sure that since they are in economic zone that eventually someone will want to collect

    taxes and the like, but other than that...

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: The thing is.

      The US is mainly concerned about drug smuggling, diseases, and people coming here and using the public services without the ability to pay the costs involved.

      I suspect that the IP and security industries disagree with that and will be lobbying the government to consider their issues to be more important. My guess is that we'll see problems once the first little bit of friction develops with big media.

    2. westlake

      Re: The thing is.

      >>We have foreign flagged ships running through our waters all the time.

      Not all of them actually stop in the US, but continue on their way to Canada or Mexico, etc.<<

      This is the right of "innocent passage."

      But the key words here are "innocent" and "passage." These are ships with a clearly defined destination. They are not permently stationed off-shore.

      They are not trying to evade US labor laws.

    3. Rambler88
      Big Brother

      Re: The thing is.

      >> Frankly, most people won't care. The US is mainly concerned about drug smuggling, diseases...

      If the people working there don't need green cards, etc., it doesn't sound like they're going to have employment taxes (Federal income tax and Social Security) deducted from their paychecks and sent to the Internal Revenue Service. That's what's going to bring the Feds down on them if nothing else does. In the U.S., laws against illegal drug imports and (especially) illegal immigration are enforced far less rigorously than is the collection of taxes from employees. The IRS is a jealous god, effectively unrestrained by law or politics--the officials whose pay and patronage depend on tax collection are the last people to challenge it.

  6. LaeMing

    Sounds like Grahem

    Trying to tow the UK outside the 5 mile limit.

  7. HeNe

    Not a new idea ...

    ... see:

    but as previous posts have indicated, the loopholes have been closed.

    I'm curious to know how that 10 GB/S* laser link is supposed to work. Wave action would make staying on target difficult, I think. Are they using a computer-controlled, servo-aimed transceiver mounting platform?

    *Per Comcast T&Cs, that's "up to" 10 GB/S.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a new idea ...

      "Wave action would make staying on target difficult, I think."

      I thought gyro-stabilised satellite dishes on boats were tried tested and proven commercially available products?

      Try searching for "gyro stabilised satellite tv antenna", for example.

      Using similar technology for a one off application using laser instead of satellite won't be trivial but it's not rocket science either.

      Then hope that the timeouts and retries in TCP/IP are good enough to handle the times when the laser is inevitably off target for a short while, or a big bird/microlight flies through the beam, or...

      1. olli

        Re: Not a new idea ...

        Regarding TCP timeouts.

        Mobile (cellular) data traffic doesn't leave all the reliability issues to be handled by the upper transport protocol (e.g. TCP). The link layer (whether WCDMA or LTE) implements different levels of quality of service and performs automatic retransmission when necessary (see ARQ and HARQ).

      2. Dave Bell

        Re: Not a new idea ...

        If they're using a laser to a shore station, they have to be in line-of-sight. The horizon would be about 17 miles from the ship. The shore station wouldn't be on-shore, but would have more height. You're not going to get clear of the 200nm economic zone. That would need a 20,000 foot tower.

        About the only advantage I can see is the possibility of in-person visits by US nationals to external programming teams. And getting the non-US personnel to the ship looks tricky.

        As far as pay and tax collection go, I suppose that there are precedents for the crew of ships.

        It all sounds a bit far-fetched. I wonder how much money will be spent on the "planning" before the investors in the company notice nothing is happening.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: Not a new idea ...

      Area not known for fog then?

    3. Alien8n

      Re: Not a new idea ...

      Clearly the laser should be mounted on the back of a genetically modified shark?

  8. jake Silver badge

    My comentardery on this from a while back:

    It's a no-go from a local logistics point of view. Fools, money, etc ...


  9. Adam White

    18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

    Sounds about right.

    1. JeevesMkII

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      The stock market is sinking! Abandon ship, VCs and journalists first!

    2. GreenOgre

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      There will be 18 dedicated lifeboats,

      any additional demand will be fulfilled by "The Cloud".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      Yeah, those are the VIP lifeboats.

      So while the VIPs are all fighting over each other and trying to figure out how to get those things launched, I'd be heading to one of the inflatable rafts (which you can't see on the picture). All those barrel canisters on ships- they all hold self-inflating rafts. Pop it open, let it fall into the sea, then dive in after it.

      You'll be in the inflatable raft before the VIPs have finished arguing about who should remove the cover of the boat.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

        Modern lifeboats take quite a lot of people.

        100-man boats are easily available, so that's a possible 1800 lifeboat capacity - before you even start to consider the liferafts.

        Of course, you've forgotten to include the crew. There are probably going to be 1000 crew members to run the vessel - it's not just serviced apartments attached to office premises.

        They have to generate their electricity, maintain the propulsion (you can't just anchor that far out), plus all the general maintenance of a steel vessel in an ocean and the sailing.

        I think there are two real killers of this project though. Latency and fuel.

        Latency of satellite internet links can easily top 500ms. Laser is only viable in good visibility and within sight of shore, so any laser link is going to fail much of the time.

        Then there's the fuel - they are going to have to bunker a lot of fuel simply to run the ship.

        1. pukepail

          Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

          Perhaps they could run fiber out to a floating buoy and either direct attach an umbilical or use laser/rf if they need to drift.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 18 lifeboats for 1000 techho-entrepreneurs

      Can I therefore be the first to name this hi-tech development "Silicon Titanic"

  10. Winkypop Silver badge


    Who'll stop all the pirates!

    1. Timmay

      Re: But

      The MPAA of course!

      1. LaeMing

        Re: But

        MPAA hired thugs Vs Central-South-American sea-pirates.

        I'd certainly pay full rights to see that!

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I reckon El Reg is really behind this scheme. Take a closer look at the photo, accompanying the article. That 'revamped luxury cruise liner' looks suspiciously like it's made of Playmobil, to me.

  12. Chris_Maresca

    I've talked to the a bunch of times...

    Specifically with Dan Dascalescu (the CIO) and I've seen the investor pitch. A couple of things:

    1. They have quite a lot of funding and support (part. Peter Thiel)

    2. An ocean going barge is the first conversion (already under way, apparently)

    3. OPEX is around ~$15 million/year IRC (with ~$38 billion in venture in SV, it's a rounding error)

    4. Contrary to what Jake things, people are NOT commuting from BlueSeed (and far more that 1000 people commute from Half Moon Bay every day...). Only about two dozen people will likely go out a day, if that, mostly investors and other team members that need a physical meeting (sic)* And the Half Moon Bay harbor is very underutilized at the moment, so is the airport.

    Their biggest problem is actually the revenue model. They are functioning like an incubator and hoping to make the majority of their returns through equity stakes in the startups they host. This is completely untenable as they cannot predict exits, which means they will have to have at least 5 years of funding to live through early no exit years. Even if they can get some successful exits, their own IRR numbers are not that good compared to other investments.

    In the end, I'll bet they get money from strategic funds rather than venture. People with a vested interest in having such a thing offshore and for whom returns are not so critical.

    All that said, if this catches on, it's likely the US gov't will take an interest. Whether that's a good or bad interest depends, no one knows.

    * in fact, the Half Moon Bay business community is cautiously supportive -

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I've talked to the a bunch of times...

      "Contrary to what Jake things, people are NOT commuting from BlueSeed"

      I'm not wrong. Because Blueseed doesn't exist.

      "(and far more that 1000 people commute from Half Moon Bay every day...).

      I no-longer live in Half Moon Bay for a reason. The commute is a bitch.

      "Only about two dozen people will likely go out a day, if that,"

      Post proof or shut the fuck up. If they don't need to leave the boat, why do they have to leave wherever it is that they are living now to do the same work?

      "mostly investors and other team members that need a physical meeting (sic)*"

      ::snickers:: "We're going on a boat-ride & suckering people ... want in?"

      "And the Half Moon Bay harbor is very underutilized at the moment"

      Questionable statement. Harbors are almost as utilized as they need to be.

      "so is the airport."

      ::snort:: You've never flown in to (K)HAF, have you?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting concept

    But it seems more like a prison ship or perhaps a work camp for foreigners, ideally suited to the modern paranoid state.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting concept/Divine Projects

      Hi, JustaKOS,

      I was thinking along the lines of an exotic erotic floating Priory epic encounter, with the temporarily unhinged and decidedly crooked on board sharing great ideas for realisation, ...... and what a real creative fab lab metamorphosis parallel, that would be for the Cosmically Insane and Delightful :-) .......

      If you can adjust and steer the path of reality, by virtual remote control of command with creative communication and steganographic messaging, is the manner and substance of reality decidedly virtual and surreal in Live Operational Virtual Environment Fields of Great Games in Full Swing and and at Intelligence Work, Resting in Play. .... and Parading Bold Semantic Moves to Guarantee Power Input for Guaranteed Clean Joint Mutual Power Output.

      Ye Olde, Have Cake and Eat it, Magic Trick. A Firm Knights Templar Favourite to Graciously Perform and Deliver Free Gratis ........ just for the Satisfaction of Pleasure and Desire, Raw Sex and Passionate Love and for Release of more Heavy Fuel to that Raging Fire Storm/Sweet Sticky TEMPEST Capture.

      FlorID AI Script is just so Delightfully Accommodating.

      1. jake Silver badge



        Just no.

  14. El Zorro


    Will they be building another boat for all the telephone sanitisers

  15. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Lets all get away from it all

    I reckon a few thousand containers held together with hydraulic generators would make a nice floating island. The ones on the outside would help damp the waves for the old hacks in the middle. You'd get a four bedroomed house for about 10 grand and you could could even focus focus groups together and accidentally cut them loose.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems a bit daft

    The US is not short of space. Seems to me if they were really serious about this sort of thing they would simply hive off a small chunk of California as a special economic area, like what Hong Kong or Macau is to mainland China.

    A thousand CS grads cooped up in an enclosed space in a hot climate sounds like hell in the Pacific to me.

    1. Anonymous C0ward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Seems a bit daft

      What are they going to do about (the lack of) women?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        "....around 1,000 live-in entrepreneurs......" and presumbly the odd visiting VC or several.

        What would they need women for? They've got their right hands and an internet connection......

      2. Mr Lion

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        "What are they going to do about (the lack of) women?"

        What do you think? The possible boon to the onshore economy will certainly not be lost on local regulators...

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        "What are they going to do about (the lack of) women?"

        What makes you think there won't be any women? Or was that a joke? I can't really tell...

      4. ManxPower

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        See: situational homosexuality

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        There will be a floating brothel docked to port side. As I say above, this is a trafficking operation, after all.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        lack of women?

        Let there be no doubt, this is not going to be the Homer's island of Calypso

        But it will feel like you've been there for 7 years

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Seems a bit daft

      "The US is not short of space. Seems to me if they were really serious..."

      That all depends on who they are. The people talking about this probably want to do it without interference from the US gov authorities (taxes, who can do what, what nationality you are, etc.). However, they don't have sovreign rights to carve up a piece of California to be a lawless sub-state. Hence saying that they will do it in international waters, nothing to do with the gov.

      The other they is the government, and they are more than happy with the laws they have about taxes and who is allowed visit / work there, etc. They probably don't want to relax their laws anywhere, and would probably rather extend them over the entire planet, thank you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems a bit daft

        Well, the proliferation of city states around the world would indicate the idea has been successfully sold many times in the past to all sorts of at their time powerful nations. Don't see why it couldn't be done again.

        Creating an artificial island just for immigration and tax reasons is mental, especially when in this age a decent internet connection means as much virtual contact as anyone could care for. Besides, if the bay area is downwind of it too many days of the year it's likely to get torpedoed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems a bit daft

      The best part is, it's not a hot climate so far north. They're going to be cold and seasick.

  17. Benjamin 4

    Pity. When I saw the headline I thought this was the real pirate island the pirate bay was talking about setting up years ago.

  18. Thomas 18


    That is all

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Rapture

      I was thinking more a physical rendering of Sadville myself.

    2. Daniel B.

      Andrew Ryan's dream lives on

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a tick

    The artists impression shows roof gardens and the like. Techo' s don't do "outdoors".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hang on a tick

      The roof gardens are like those pictures you see of every new 'largest' airliner, with a bar, tasteful neon lighting, and a spiral staircase. What you actually get is another 45 economy seats and a stainless steel galley full of miniature coke cans, trays of flabby vegetables, and $9 beers.

      In this case, I imagine the outcome will, if anything, be 18 acres of tar paper and those aluminum bendy straw vent things. And while the renders will show an interior lined with glass walls, thick carpet, and 15 foot ceilings sparkling with LED lighting, reality will find row upon row of off-white hallways, off-white offices, off-white suspended ceilings, and (to satisfy the rental agreement requirements) a half-broken foosball table, on its side, next to the ice machine on level C3.

      Oh, and that dark brown / red speckle hard-nodule carpet that costs .35 cents per square foot and hurts if you walk on it without socks.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @AC 09:39 (was: Re: Hang on a tick)

      Rephrase that ... "Idiot technos don't do outdoors".

      This techno has just finished planting ~4 acres of veggies ... Hacking food is probably the most important technology that good old homo-sap knows, after potable water transportation.

  20. DrXym Silver badge

    High risk venture

    The US will simply harass this project out of existence even assuming it is technically and economically viable enough to happen. US authorities will raid the ship, disrupt data / voice communications with the shore, harass customers doing business with it, freeze US bank accounts of anybody onboard and generally life miserable as possible. It only takes one rotten apple tenant on the whole ship to give them any excuse they like to do any or all of this. It can't succeed.

  21. scub


    this just a tax dodge? Will half or any ppl registered as living there actually live there? Is the $1200 a month invoice enough proof?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bingo! We have a winner!

      And the boy gets a cigar. Yes, that's exactly what this scheme is really about, and the rest of the marketing and hype is just fluff to dress it up in. Non-doms ahoy!

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: tax

      What's the current situation with the liner "The World"? It seems like we've already got an example of a mobile offshore tax haven, and one that is quite open about it. Why would anyone need to be clandestine?

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: tax

      It was intended to have tech workers who couldn't get US residency close enough to be able to make face-face meetings in Ca.

      Since the US can stop any of them visiting the US from the boat, and VCs who were interested can just as easily travel to Europe/S.America etc then it's not clear that it makes sense.

      It could be used by US citizens to 'live' there 6months of the year to be non-resident for tax - like London bankers. But the US is a lot less forgiving on this 'arrangement' than the UK - US citizens pay tax in the USA on their worldwide income, wherever they live. So if you are just going to lie about where you live - you might aswell just lie about your income anyway

      Personally I think it's all either a pipedream AND/OR a way of trying to show up how stupid US immigration is.

  22. jai

    familiar idea

    Wasn't this an idea in a Neil Stephenson book? or was it a William Gibson one?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: familiar idea

      [Snow Crash] has The Raft, but it's built of refugee ships mostly, which is pretty different.

      1. Someral

        Re: familiar idea

        Raft had a decommissioned US carrier as core.

        I would hope we could sell one of our new UK carriers to this project. The first one gets put in mothballs immediately the second is built so we have a spare.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. David Evans

      Re: familiar idea

      A Bruce Sterling one actually - Islands in the Net (although Neal Stephenson has touched on the idea a couple of times as well as have others like John Courtenay Grimwood).

      Frankly the biggest issue with this whole idea is the country they've chosen to anchor off. Access to Silicon Valley is all very nice, but American security paranoia and the IRS make the whole thing untenable. They'd be better off getting the Canadians to lease an island off BC or something.

  23. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  24. pierce

    surfs up, anyone?

    does anyone involved have a clue how ROUGH the East Pacific ocean is?!? and there's no anchorages out there, its deep ocean floor bottom, the continental shelf drops off very steeply on the west coast of North America.

    this is truly looney tunes stuff, could only have been conceived to defraud investors.

  25. EvanPyle

    Year 1:

    1000 tech start ups

    Year 2:

    10 successful start ups, 990 Drug lords.

    1. NukEvil

      No, year 2 will be 10 successful start ups, 988 freetards, and 2 drug lords to rule them all.

  26. mraak

    Green Card

    Love it or hate it, whoever can get one proves that he's willing to go through all kinds of sh** and bureaucracy probably really deserves a stay.

  27. Rick Giles

    Your number has no reference...

    7000 out of how many? 7K out of 20K, about a 3rd. 7K out of 10K, almost 3/4's. 7K out of 8K that looks like a problem to me that should be resolved by encouraging more American students into the tech world.

  28. Cliff

    Passport to Pimlico

    Yep, an old black and white British comedy explored many of the issues wonderfully - give it a watch if you spot it on on a Sunday afternoon. Real little classic.

  29. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Bypassing US immigration laws

    Won't help much.

    Quite simply, the current protectionist-inspired uber-hostile attitude to foreign graduates of local institutes(*) has had an immediate effect on the number of applications to study at said institutes - and the remaining applicants have no desire to work in the ocuntries concerned after they graduate (for the most part they have employment guaranteed elsewhere).

    (*)USA and UK have both gone down this path but others are folllowing.

    The end result is that innovation is happening elsewhere and so are the business opportunities. If these policies are kept up the UK and USA will both end up as even larger parochial backwaters than they already are.

  30. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Exactly how do you get onboard?

    Without going through US immigration?

    It's a hell of a long helicopter flight from HK!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Antony Riley

    So it's basically Sealand on a boat in a more useful location.

    The fail is strong with this one.

  32. mhenriday

    From what I understand, Costa Concordia is going to be refloated,

    and will presumably become available at a severly discounted price. And no doubt Captain Francesco Schettino could be persuaded to resume his old command, and if Blueseed is really, really lucky, perhaps even Domnica Cemortan could be prevailed upon to come aboard in one capacity or another. What could go wrong ?...


  33. The Alpha Klutz

    hello i am delighted to be alive at your expense

    i am currently squatting in your summer house. your wifi is good for all the music and porn im downloading. pirated of course. PS. ive added some stains on your toilet that aint going nowhere.

  34. Jobee
    Thumb Up

    Nice way for companies to avoid paying taxes by locating their HQ outside the jurisdiction of every country on Earth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Jurisdiction - who you gonna call?

      Of course, if your company is outside everyone else's jurisdiction, whose court are you going to use if someone else steals your money or ideas?

      Some international NGOs have this problem - having the status of embassies, they are exempt from local laws and taxation in their host country but, without a national government in charge, they have no justice system of their own....

  35. pukepail

    Did someone already mention "monkey knife fights"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wasn't there one of those at a recent RIM launch event?

  36. small and stupid

    It wont work.

    If the 'let the IT foreigners in' faction prevails, its pointless

    If the 'damn furriners stealing our jobs' faction prevails the authorities can find a hundred ways to make it unworkable.

  37. johnwerneken

    Science Fiction - most recently, "Saturn's Race" - becomes science fact, yet again. What a wonderful world!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    .. they can just all relocate to singapore. Easy visa entries.. no typhoons.. excellent infra.. good food..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OR

      ...and fifty lashes if you look at the sidewalk disrespectfully.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sound like the Hitchhikers Guide all over again,....

    an "A Plus" Ark that was so focussed on technical matters, they forgot to hire a crew. I prediect disaster.

  40. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Boys' Toys ... SMART Key Drivers

    Are there women on Octopus, which is one strange ship too, is it not? And a sort of metaphysical island in surreal empire powering by, in search of Anonymous Forward Control of Mass Power.

    An Elite Power Hack and Key Crack which Delivers Lead Privileges and SMARTR Support with Virtually Invisible and Invincible AIdD ..... Supreme Assistance .

  41. toadwarrior

    The only purpose for something like this is to dodge taxes and employment law. I just can't see the IRS being happy about that.

    I can say I'm not terribly happy about the fact they're looking for ways to work people like dogs. It would be a *real* shame if their tax-free slave ship sank, imo.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Golgafrinchan ark...

    Having run roughshod over laws in almost every country...

    Mine's the one with the mutant star goat and the dirty telephone in the pocket.

  43. Colin Millar

    Old lawyer joke warning!

    Q: What do you call 1000 tech entrepreneurs in a boat at the bottom of the ocean?

    A: A start

  44. JohnG


    Why not just open a company in one of the several Caribbean tax havens? These have banks, airports, fresh water, women, warm weather (although there is the hurricane season to think about), sand, nice food, etc. I know it is on the other side of the USA but it is only a short flight to FL.

    1. Adam White

      Re: Caribbean

      Because SILICON VALLEY!!!1

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