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Three held after abalone bust

A ship hired to smuggle abalone worth R2million has been forced to turn back to South Africa.

A ship hired to smuggle abalone worth R2million has been forced to turn back to South Africa. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - A ship hired to smuggle abalone worth R2million has been forced to turn back to South Africa from Singapore, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries revealed on Saturday.

Officials served a detention order on the vessel earlier in June.

Three people have been arrested and face charges relating to the illegal export of abalone.

Authorities believe the cargo was wrongfully declared as frozen vegetables.

The department's Desmond Stevens said they are working with foreign officials.

"They found about 4,200 units of frozen abalone and about 2,300 units of dried abalone."