A review of sustainable sea-transport for Oceania: Providing context for renewable energy shipping for the Pacific

This paper summarises research and options for sustainable sea transport in Oceania with a focus on domestic shipping. This debate is situated initially within the context of the current Pacific domestic shipping scenario, a region of minute economies connected by some of the longest sea transport routes in the world. All current options are fossil fuel powered and increasingly uneconomic and unsustainable. Many routes are marginal or unviable and a vicious cycle of old ships replaced with old ships prevails. Although a central and essential issue of many Pacific communities, the option of pursuing sustainable sea transport is currently invisible within the policy space at all levels. Various renewable energy options are possible and increasingly available. Recent research finds that these have strong potential for providing benefits across multiple wellbeings. The barriers to pursing this agenda are complex and poorly understood but are perceptual and institutional more than technological. A small number of critical experiments during the last oil crisis provide critical lessons and direction.