20 Aug 2019

Tonga whale watching licence suspended over missing diver

12:45 pm on 20 August 2019

Tonga's Ministry of Tourism has temporarily suspended the whale watching operator's licence of Whale Swim, Fish and Dive Tours.

Tonga is one of the few countries in the world where it is legal for people to swim with whales, although some conservationists are calling for an end to commercial swimming with whales operations.

This photograph taken on August 4, 2008 shows a humpback whale diving near the island of Vava'u in Tonga. Photo: DAVID BROOKS / AFP

MatangiTonga Online reported the suspension followed a diver being lost at sea last week.

43-year-old German tourist Marina Trost went missing while diving off 'Eua on Sunday, 11 August as part of an expedition organised by the whale watching operator.

A spokesperson for the ministry said the business's licence would be suspended until the outcome of the police investigation is known.