On 7 July 2023, the Legal and Technical Commission of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) confirmed the selection of two (2) candidates for undergraduate scholarships provided by Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd (TOML) in accordance with its obligations under its exploration contract for polymetallic nodules with ISA.

The selected candidates are:

  1. Mahonilai Hakaumotu from Tonga
  2. Hazel Oatasia from Solomon Islands

The candidates will complete an undergraduate degree programme through the University of the South Pacific (USP)Laucala campus in Fiji. They will pursue studies in one of the following fields: marine science/management, biology, environmental science/management, earth sciences, geosciences, geology, or engineering, with an interest in polymetallic nodules, ocean sustainability and international law of the sea.

Semester 1 is set to commence in February 2024 and the selected candidates are expected to complete the undergraduate programme within the standard time frame of the degree of study (this can be 3 or 4 years depending on the programme).

One of the Voluntary Commitments registered by ISA at the 2017 UN Ocean Conference (#OceanAction 40768). and reiterated in 2022 was ‘Enhancing the role of Women in Marine Scientific Research through Capacity Building’ – As partner of the Women in Deep-Sea Research project (WIDSR), TOML has pledged to allocate 50% of the training opportunities to qualified women applicants.



All contractors with ISA have a legal obligation to provide and fund practical training opportunities for personnel from developing States and those of ISA, including the participation of such personnel in all activities in the Area which are covered by the contract.

The legal basis for the requirement stems from the provisions of UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement and is set out in the standard terms of exploration contracts signed with ISA.

Please visit this page to know more about the Contractor Training Programme.

For additional information, please contact:

Ms. Annekah Mason, Training Coordinator, ISA, training@isa.org.jm