Environmental Protection Ministry raises concerns over sensitive facility’s fortification; severe impact should it suffer a missile hit

Amir Ben-David
Published: 08.22.12

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira is set to review the security and fortification arrangements set in place for the Haifa Bay ammonia depository, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The ammonia depository is considered one of the major environmental and health hazards in Israel and should it suffer a missile attack the impact would be extremely severe.

The depository, which is owned by Haifa Chemicals, has been the focus of public controversy for years, as its location – which is already dangerously close to the area’s communities – make it vulnerable to potential missile strikes by Hezbollah.

Concerns have been raised again recently, vis-à-vis the growing tension with Iran and the volatile situation in Syria.

Shapira is set to review the various differences of opinion between the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Home Front Command over the necessary defenses for the depository.

Another issue to be addressed is the Home Front Command’s alleged disregard of the recommendations presented by a professional committee, which suggested placing overhead protection measures above the tank to minimize the risk to its integrity.

The Home Front Command, however, has determined that there is no need.

The Environmental Protection Ministry maintains that unless the proper fortification can be introduced, the ammonia depository must be removed from the Haifa Bay without delay.

The State Comptroller’s Office confirmed that a review was in place. The IDF said that the tank was up to code. The Environmental Protection Ministry stated that the responsibility for the lacking defenses of the tank lies with the military.