Radio chat prompts sacking of ferry crash employee

An employee on one of the ships involved in the Gotland ferry crash in July, has been fired for talking to local radio.

The man was called in to his bosses at Destination Gotland, owners of the Gotland II ferry which collided with the Gotlandia II near Nynäshamn on July 23rd.

He was told that his position was being terminated as it company policy dictates that only the CEO is authorized to speak to the media, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Destination Gotland’s CEO Jan-Erik Rosengren confirmed that the employee has been sacked, but maintains that it had nothing to do with the company’s media policy.

“It is because he left his post. He was part of the security staff on board the vessel and should therefore have been taking care of the passengers. He instead chose to contact the radio station and make a statement,” Rosengren told news agency TT.

The two Gotland ferries crashed on July 23rd in thick fog off Nynäshamn. Around 1,900 passengers were onboard the ferries when the collision occurred resulting in a number of cancelled and delayed trips.

Investigators from the Swedish Accident Investigation Board (Statens haverikommission – SHK) are still collecting information about the collision. Their final report on the accident could however take months to compile.

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Sweden steps up Baltic defence in ‘signal’ to Russia

Sweden's defence minister has said his country is carrying out military exercises in the Baltic Sea to 'send a signal' to countries including Russia.

Sweden steps up Baltic defence in 'signal' to Russia
Swedish troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. Photo: Joel Thungren/Försvarsmakten/TT

The so-called “high readiness action” means the Swedish army, navy and air force are currently more visible in the southeastern and southern Baltic Sea and on the island of Gotland.

No details have been disclosed about the number of troops involved in the action.

Sweden is “sending a signal both to our Western partners and to the Russian side that we are prepared to defend Sweden's sovereignty,” Hultqvist told news agency TT.

Ground troops on Gotland. Photo: Bezhav Mahmoud/Försvarsmakten/TT

“There is currently extensive military activity in the Baltic Sea, conducted by Russian as well as Western players, on a scale the likes of which have not been seen since the Cold War,” the Swedish Armed Forces' Commander of Joint Operations, Jan Thörnqvist, said in a statement.

“The exercise activities are more complex and have arisen more rapidly than before. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has caused global anxiety and uncertainty. Over all, the situation is more unstable and more difficult to predict,” Thörnqvist said.

A Visby-class corvette and two Jas Gripen jets in the air. Photo: Antonia Sehlstedt/Försvarsmakten/TT

Hultqvist said Sweden was also monitoring developments in Belarus “very closely”.

Non-Nato member Sweden, which has not been to war in two centuries and which slashed military spending at the end of the Cold War, reopened a garrison on Gotland in January 2018 amid concerns about Russian intentions in Europe and the Baltic.