Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world, in part because of years of relentless civil war, and many of its citizens depend on the sea for their livelihoods. This was the case with a fishing crew of 35, until they accidentally stumbled upon a life-changing fortune fishing in the Gulf of Aden.
When the crew encountered a sperm whale carcass, they noticed it gave off a pungent odor, leading them to believe it might contain ambergris. The waxy substance is only produced in the intestines of sperm whales, and is used to make scents last longer. Some Eastern cultures also use it as a spice in medicines and potions. However, it is usually only found by chance and as such is extremely valuable. When the fishing crew cut the carcass of the whale, they found a 280-pound piece of the substance, which they sold to someone in the United Arab Emirates for $ 1.5 million.
The crew members shared the money equally, which enabled them to buy cars, boats and houses and ultimately lift themselves out of poverty. They also donated some of the money to other poor families in their community.
One of the crew members told the BBC: “We are all poor. We didn’t expect this thing to bring us such a huge amount. ”