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Future of Business on the High Seas

January 31, 2021

I wanted to republish an article from my blog in 2014 as it has such relevance with what is going on in this Covid infected world. I feel the world is going to see rapid change in almost every aspect of our lives. We are just beginning to see post Covid projects being created and we see dramatic changes coming.

Had George Orwell ever taken a cruise his 1984 novel may have been told at Sea. A story of Global Banks and Sovereign Nations sailing around the world in a global tax haven aboard a fleet of mega ships. Imagine a slight variation on the cruise industry today; where corporate ships are owned by sovereign nations like Bermuda, Qatar and Macau and on board are 50 global banks and private equity firms in posh offices with client suites. They no longer need land side corporate headquarters’ in taxable jurisdictions; they simply move their respective Global offices from port to port and handle all their transactions on the high seas. Imagine the HMS Winsor sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore doing business on behalf of the Royal Family and their many investment partners, a Coutts and Company private yacht in tow, all being managed by a crew aboard a fleet of the Windsor Royal Cruise Lines. Or even a Global Airline owning a fleet of Residence at Sea Vessels where their owners and residents are Global Citizens with their own passports and domiciled on board or in private islands like a newly branded Grande Bahama with an array of unlimited private island destinations. Some of these private Island nations may even have space planes in places like Curacao or even Grande Bahama with their 12,000 ft long runways. Large multinational companies like Genting, Wynn Resorts, and even Google owning fleets of ships that provide global gaming and finance while it entertaining its clients on global trips across all seven seas.

What would an Apple ship or better an Apple fleet look like. Apple’s new Global Headquarters is at sea with all the leading edge electronics on board and will visit a port near you! Goldman Sacks no longer is limited to manipulating wall street from its land based operation in New York but now form a mega ship adrift off of any shore at any time with no regulatory agency monitoring its deals. The newly developed home ports for these vessels will become magnets for investments of all kind like global airports some with space planes transporting guests half way around the world to cruise with their bankers of choice over the weekend.

This brave new cruising world will change the basic economic picture for the entire world. These private global fleet will have registration in sovereign countries, be protected by private navy’s and enjoy a tax haven that encompass the earth. Private family trusts and private banks will have offices at sea and offer investment trips to their clients for unlimited cruising conferences and seminars via satellite . All transactions will happen at sea and not be governed by any tax jurisdiction. Alliances will be formed between these floating corporate headquarters’ and act as sovereign entities managing the worlds wealth and commerce. Ports will feature large city like floating platforms which act as weigh stations for guests and provisioning. Entertainment Giants like Disney and Universal will have floating theme parks and resorts that can take you anywhere on earth. Environmentalist and Conservancy Foundations can float aboard solar powered vessels to exotic destinations and provide global audiences with their aspirations and green initiatives on site.

Floating tankers and provisioning platforms owned by Target and Wal-Mart will supply fuel and provisions at the best global pricing as the mega ships come to the supply not to shore. Tax free fuel and products make these floating cities economically viable and provide for the privacy and security not always available in their countries of Origin. This truly would be a global marketplace without limitations of local governments and people become “Citizens of the World”. Imagine what a fleet of Exxon or BP floating platform destinations and ships could present with partners like GE or DuPont in innovative manufacturing and science exploration. Universities are not just study at sea programs but actually become an entire campus at Sea. 

A global Harvard, Yale or Cornell attracting and teaching students that live aboard and study in this new global business environment. These new citizens of the world will truly be part of a global community with no borders only ports of call and will explore a new world with boundless floating ambition.

Sail on and Inspire Others to Dream!

New Fleets may be owned by Private Equity Firms
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob Petry permalink
    February 2, 2021 8:11 pm

    Hugh, The tax hogs would pass laws that would make it illegal to do business with any company based off shore. If you gave up your citizenship to avoid the law, then you would be subject to not getting a visa to any country. You would be stuck as a global citizen without a land based country. As crocked as they are it would implode with corruption and scams.

    • February 2, 2021 8:50 pm

      Rob thanks for reading the post. I already work in the duty free world within the cruise industry and see that it works. Already you can buy a $25K Rolex at sea and never pay tax on that purchase. I can easily see it working for more consumer products as with Apple and have Prime deliver it to your home after your cruise. Governments already offer investment citizenship and encourage tax haven status as they build their own tax haven status for selling financial services. There will always be new angels on global taxes and always someone looking to profit from them. It is hard to give up US Citizenship but may become a viable option in this crazy world we live in. Great to hear from you!

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