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SECURITY

Swedish tanker hit by pirate attack

A Swedish tanker vessel fell victim to a pirate attack off the coast of Benin in west Africa.

While the crew escaped unhurt, the attack raises once again the question of whether Swedish ships should be able to arm themselves in the battle against pirates.

“Had you asked me a year ago I would have been a staunch opponent against having armed guards, but today I am much more hesitant,” said Jonas Engström, security manager at shipping firm Wisby Ship Management, to news agency TT.

Shortly after 3am on Sunday morning, he received a call from the crew of the tanker Gotland Sofia.

Around ten pirates had boarded the ship while the crew unloaded the cargo of oil to an adjacent vessel, 70 kilometres outside the port of Cotonou in Benin.

The crew, consisting of four Swedes, 18 Filipinos and a Ukrainian, proceeded to lock themselves in. The pirates tried to get into where the crew had blockaded themselves, but fled when units from Benin’s navy fleet approached.

“In this case, nothing happened, but a lot of people become anxious. It is a situation that may involve substantial risks.”

The government is current investigating the question of whether Swedish shipping companies should be allowed to have armed guards on board their ships. But pending the outcome of the investigation, many companies have already begun to employ guards.

“We will certainly look at it now,” Jonas Engström said.

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SECURITY

Swedish Huawei ban is legal, court rules

A Swedish ban on Chinese telecoms company Huawei was confirmed in court on Tuesday, citing the country's security as a just reason for banning its equipment in a 5G rollout.

Swedish Huawei ban is legal, court rules
Photo: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

The administrative court in Stockholm ruled that the decision of the Swedish telecoms authority, PTS, to ban the use of equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in a new Swedish 5G telecom network last October — a move that irked Beijing — was legal.

Equipment already installed must also be removed by January 1st, 2025.

“Sweden’s security is an important reason and the administrative court has considered that it’s only the security police and the military that together have a full picture when it comes to the security situation and threats against Sweden,” judge Ulrika Melin said in a statement.

Huawei denounced the ruling, but did not say whether it would appeal.

“We are of course noting that there has been no evidence of any wrongdoings by Huawei which is being used as basis for this verdict, it is purely based on assumption,” Kenneth Fredriksen, the company’s vice-president for Central, Eastern Europe and the Nordic region, told AFP.

Huawei will now evaluate the decision and the “see what kind of actions we will take to protect our rights,” Fredriksen added.

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G network.

Beijing had warned that PTS’ decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliation.

“We will continue to be available to have constructive dialogues with Swedish authorities to see if we can find pragmatic ways of taking care of security and at the same time keeping an open and fair market like Sweden has always been,” Fredriksen said.

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