Haifa Chemicals was ordered to begin shutting down their ammonia tank operations by the Haifa Court of Internal Affairs on Wednesday, following a petition submited by Haifa City Council. The order was filed following the tank's last ammonia report, which warned of a possible catastrophe, which could take place should the tank continue operating as usual.
Judge Sigalit Gal Ofir has declared the order to be effective immediately, until a discussion on the matter is to be held on Thursday at 11:30.
It should be noted that the order is solely a declarative act, as it is not possible to immediately stop using the tank to stre ammonia.
The court stated that "this decision is based on a report filed by experts as alleged evidence, which shows a very real and immediate possibility of harming tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the Haifa and Krayot region."
Haifa City Council held a press conference in January, in which it released the report to the public. The report, which included the dangers the ammonia tank imposes, was based on a Ynet column warning that "the ammonia ship that enters the Haifa Bay every four weeks is akin to a ship carrying five primed atom bombs, each more deadly than the one dropped on Hiroshima."
The report determined that any leakage, resulting from either a terror attack, an earthquake (the Carmel Mountain is an active seismic area), or even an accident could create a deadly cloud of highly poisonous gas that could kill over half a million people (depending on the prevailing wind conditions).
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said during the press conference, "The party's over. I'm calling you personally, Prime Minister: no more. The ammonia tank is no longer someone's shady business plan, and it cannot be covered up. It is no longer another case that relies on the public's short attention span. Whoever reads this report will get goosebumps. This is no longer a story for the back pages of the newspaper. This could be our next big disaster."
Haifa Chemicals Chose not to respond at this time.