Warnings have been issued to swimmers and beach goers to be careful after several potentially lethal Box Jellyfish were spotted in waters around tourist hotspots in Muscat.
Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) circulated an alert following the sighting of the jellyfish in the sea around Crowne Plaza Beach in Qurum up to the popular public Marjan Beach. A couple of the sea creatures were also seen on PDO’s beach at its private Ras Al Hamra Recreation Centre (RAHRC).
Some types of Box Jellyfish produce potent venom, which can be fatal to humans if not treated.
The species is recognisable from other jellyfish from its appearance. Instead of looking like a dome, they tend to resemble an umbrella with long tentacles hanging down.
Because they are almost transparent, they cannot be easily seen in the water.
“The Box Jellyfish has been given the nickname of the ‘Sucker Punch Jellyfish’. This is due to the fact that you won’t see them coming. You won’t know that they are upon you until it is too late,” said a notice from PDO sent out this week.
PDO said it was warning its club members to keep out of the water until the jellyfish all clear is given.
“We would like to caution our members to keep an eye on the Jellyfish flag (yellow flag) and not to venture into the waters,” it said.
Other hotels in the area are also being vigilant for any potential problems in the sea.
Although it has been called “the world’s most venomous creature”, only a few species of the Box Jellyfish are known to have caused human deaths. The larger class of the species is said to be the most lethal. Although painful, stings from smaller varieties are not life threatening.
“The instant pain from the sting is gong to be too much for you to ignore,” said the PDO warning.
“Getting someone out of the water quickly that has been stung by one is very important. People can suffer shock and fear and are not able to get out on their own.”
The notice went on to warn about the potential side effects of being stung by one.
“A sting from this type of jellyfish usually results in breathlessness, fainting and a coma if medical assistance is delayed.”
Stings from Box Jellyfish should be treated with warm water and not vinegar or cold water, advised the PDO notice.
Most victims who are stung do make a full recovery, but in August last year, a five-year-old French boy died from a Box Jellyfish sting in Thailand.