A boat company that takes divers to the Great Barrier Reef will be charged in the disappearance of an American couple, a Queensland state Cabinet minister said Sunday.

Thomas and Eileen Lonergan were apparently left behind Jan. 25 when the tour boat returned from a scuba diving trip to Saint Crispin Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef.Police were alerted 48 hours later when crew members found diving gear belonging to the Lonergans still on the boat, the Outer Edge.

Lonergan, 33, and his wife Eileen, 28, of Baton Rouge, La., were both experienced divers.

Their disappearance led to a large-scale police investigation and despite marked diving gear washing up on a remote northern beach, no trace has been found of the missing couple.

Industrial Relations Minister Santo Santoro told a news conference that prosecutors told him they could make a case against the dive boat company and its man-age-ment.

"The two parties will be prosecuted as soon as possible for alleged breaches of Queensland's workplace health and safety legislation," Santoro said.

The Great Barrier Reef is a spectacular series of coral islands, reefs and shoals that runs for 1,250 miles off the eastern coast of Queensland.