Offshoring Jobs – Literally

Here’s an interesting twist on offshoring jobs: buy an old cruise ship, park it in international waters 3 miles off Los Angeles, and fill it with programmers. Very smart in terms of circumventing H1B visas. India without the travel time. Outsourcing opponents will have a fit with this one. But in terms of logistical intelligence, it’s brilliant if they can pull it off. The article cites $10 million as their target price for an old cruise ship, which seems a bit low. Gotta love the free market.

Via Slashdot

5 thoughts on “Offshoring Jobs – Literally”

  1. The 3 mile limit was changed to 12 miles in 1973. In 1999, Pres. Clinton signed a proclomation which extended the limit to 24 miles.

    So you’re not going to be able to belly up that close to land. Something tells me that packing an old, worn out cruise ship with computer geeks and letting them roll around in high ocean swells 24 miles from dry land is a recipe for disaster.


  2. The dating scene in Silicon Valley is terrible for men. This would make Sili Valley pale by comparison. The saving grace would be that they presumably would get shore leave as often as they like. But it makes me wonder that if sailors are bad on shore leave, wait until you get geeks on shore leave. The big recruiting tool for programmers would be that they can showcase themselves to decision makers in the USA. I have many Indians who work for me in India, and many of them want to come here for obvious reasons, even for temporary assignments. The smart way I think would be to set up a permanent lab in India and have a rotation schedule, say 3 months or so. It would be akin to a high tech off shore oil rig. You can argue that code is almost as valuable as oil, sometimes more.

    That said, there are huge hurdles to be crossed. James pointed out correctly that the mileage to international water is 24 miles instead of 3. I thought it was 12. The determining factor would be how the immigration and tax courts decide their status. Congress can also easily up the international water limit. One plus is that if they put it on a ship, they can go wherever they want. I can see satellite as a solution, relay stations, or even fiber optic being laid. If I remember correctly from my previous life, it costs around $10,000 to lay 1 mile of submerged fiber optic. Say you lay fiber out 24 miles, you’ll still recoup the investment in a year. Another idea would be to pull up anchor, steam out at night, and steam back each morning. This, of course, brings up the cost issue. The market will be the ultimate arbiter of success if they can keep costs low enough, and sell their service for a high enough price. But it sure is interesting to see.

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