Yes, thank you. The problem is resolved. I said in the ticket that it started working without changes. However, that seems not to be correct. At each attempt to solve the problem (following suggestions on forums etc) I reverted everything back to the original state to keep track. One option was not restored and I must have forgotten to clear the cache after implementing it which gave the impression that it had not worked. Once the cache was cleared the mod seemed to take effect.
I set the smtp auto tls function to false in phpmailer. After that smtp over ssl started working.