The International Seabed Authority began its seventeenth session today with an extensive agenda which includes finalization of a regime for prospecting and exploration for cobalt-rich crusts in the deep seabed Area and action on pending applications for exploratory contracts.

Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, was this morning elected President of the Authority’s 162-member Assembly. The new President was nominated by the representative of Bangladesh on behalf of the Asian Group. (Malawi and Thailand are the latest States to become members of the Authority.

Andrzej Przybycin (Poland) was elected President of the Council. He is Deputy Director of the Department of Geology and Geological Concessions in his country’s Environment Ministry.