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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Engineering for Sustainable Maritime Development: The Gulf of Guinea

Henry Donaghy

Engineering for Sustainable Maritime Development: The Gulf of Guinea


The oceans are a tremendous resource for mankind, providing food, transport, energy, and ecosystem services. The sustainable development of these oceans resources, however, is challenged by common property issues, difficult governance, and poor scientific understanding. Although solutions for these obstacles lie outside the domain of engineering, certain projects could assist in sustainable ocean development by capturing value locally and minimizing ecosystem impacts.

This dissertation searches for potential engineering approaches to sustainable ocean development within the geographical context of the Gulf of Guinea. The Gulf of Guinea, surrounded by a growing and developing population, features a mature fishing industry, a booming energy industry, and an emerging shipping industry. The region’s ecosystem is productive and diverse, but suffers from industrial and domestic pollution. These four ocean resources - fisheries, energy, shipping, and ecosystem - are examined. A number of engineering approaches for sustainable maritime development are identified. An enhanced secondary processing industry would benefit the fishing sector. The energy resource would benefit from tools and techniques to counter oil spills, and new infrastructure to boost natural gas demand. The shipping resource would benefit from new port infrastructure and specific ship designs. The study then scrutinizes these engineering approaches in the context of unforeseen interactions between maritime resources.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.