Twomechanised boats, each valued at Rs.5 lakh, were found destroyed in a fire at Pamban seashore on Thursday.

Local fishermen said the boats were anchored in the sea, north off Pamban, and they suspected sabotage. Wooden planks in the boats could catch fire due to short circuit in batteries but the two boats had no batteries, they said.

They said silencers could also trigger fire when the engines and silencers were hot, but in this case, the boats had remained anchored for the past three days. The Marine Police, who alerted the fishermen in the early hours of Thursday, registered a case and are investigating.

Ropes and nets kept on the boats were completely damaged. As the anchor rope snapped in the fire, the boats drifted to about 300 metres and sank after hitting against a rock, they said. The boats were owned by Innasi of Pamban and Muniselvam of Thangachimadam.

Meanwhile, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader and local MLA M.H.Jawahirullah, in a statement issued here, urged the State Government to provide compensation to the two families which were dependent on the boats for their livelihood.

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