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Omani fishermen find ‘whale vomit’ worth USD 2.5 mln

Dubai: Three Omani fishermen have hit the jackpot after scooping 80 kg of floating rare “whale vomit” expected to net them a mind-boggling USD 2.5 million.

Khalid Al Sinani, who is in his late 30s, found floating “whale vomit” on the shores of Qurayat province last week.

‘Whale vomit’ or Ambergris is a very costly wax that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale. It can be found floating in tropical seas and is used in manufacture of perfume.

After 20 years of hand-to-mouth life as a fisherman, Khalid’s childhood dream of winning the sea lottery came true on the morning of October 30 when he, along with two of his friends, saw a mass of ambergris floating on the sea, releasing a nasty smell.

“We used a rope to collect it and carry it inside the boat,” Khalid was quoted as saying by the Times of Oman.

“I was told earlier that ambergris has an icky smell, but after a couple of days it imparts a pleasant scent. We rushed back to the beach with joy and happiness,” he said.

After keeping his valuable harvest in a box, he called some experts to identify the material.

“After we made sure it was ambergris, we started cutting it in order to dry and sell it later,” Khalid said.

Khalid has collected about 80 kilogrammes of ambergris.

“I’ll wait to see how this sale will go and later I’ll think of changing my career and enter the real-estate sector to live a better life,” he said.

The three sailors are expected to share more than Omani Rial 1 million (approximately USD 2,597,099), if he gets the best price, the report said.

Oman is famous for having ambergris wash up on its shores particularly in Sharqiyah, Wusta and Dhofar governorates.

Ambergris initially produces a faecal odour, but with time, its odour changes to sweet and earthy.