Lucy goes lawless protesting aboard drillship
Lucy Lawless on the Noble Discoverer
February 24th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Lucy goes lawless protesting aboard drillship

Who wants to get in a fight with Xena the Warrior Princess?

It seems that a major oil corporation doesn't have much of a choice. On Thursday Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena, and six other Greenpeace activists illegally boarded a drilling ship leased to Shell Oil off New Zealand's western shore. The group reached a 174-foot drilling tower and held a sign "Stop Shell #SaveTheArctic."

CNN spoke with Lawless on the Noble Discoverer Friday morning, the middle of the night in New Zealand. It was cold and noisy and she wasn't getting much sleep. But the actress didn't seem bothered at all. Asked to describe how she and the other protesters got on board, she said, "We walked like human beings wearing hard hats (but) I don't want to give away any trade secrets."

Greenpeace, in a statement, said the group had actually scaled the drillship which was in the Port of Taranaki in New Zealand. The activists were told to get off. But Lawless and the protesters refused to cooperate.

"We thanked them for adhering to their protocol," Lawless said, stressing that the exchange between the activists and authorities has been peaceful. "We know we'll be arrested. We have no choice but to stay where we are and send our message to the world."

Lawless said the activists are prepared to hunker down until their anti-Arctic drilling point is made. By early Friday afternoon it appeared that it was - stories were popping up across the Web and in news outlets across the globe about the stunt.

"We feel very much that what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic anymore," Lawless said. "An oil spill can never be cleaned up because of the remoteness and the freezing temperatures. We risk trashing whole ecosystems and poisoning them from plankton on up. It's absolutely unthinkable."

The Noble Discoverer is owned by Noble Corporation and is contracted for operation by Shell, according to Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh.

Lawless and the other activists have "occupied" the drillship to prevent it from departing on a "6,000 nautical mile journey from New Zealand to the remote Arctic to start an exploratory oil drilling program that threatens to devastate the Alaskan coastline," Greenpeace spokeswoman Szabina Mozes said.

"We are disappointed that Greenpeace has chosen this method to protest," op de Weegh wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "Actions such as this jeopardize the safety of everyone involved. While we respect the right of individuals to express their point of view, the priority should be the safety of Noble's personnel and that of the protestors."

Shell is investigating how the activists got on board, op de Weegh wrote.

Lawless, a longtime environmental activist, has never done any protesting as extreme as this. She said she thought about her three children and her family when deciding whether to participate in the Noble Discoverer demonstration.

"The oil that is captured will be burnt in the air to rain more destruction down on our grand children," she said.

Lawless has no idea how many days she and the group will be out to sea. She brought some chocolate and peanuts with her.

"We're here as long as it takes," she said.

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Filed under: Environment
soundoff (591 Responses)
  1. BD70

    You go Lucy!

    February 25, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • PTC Bernie

      I appreciate her enthusiasm for the cause, but this is how actors lose credibility and lose fans. They lose the ability to play any character other than an extremist. Sad.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It's not very logical to judge a person's professional credibility with something like this. People do it, but it's not very logical.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Batty

      All I am saying is that I am glad she is doing something which is more than most of us can say.

      "She brought some chocolate and peanuts with her."
      >.>

      February 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • IndyGirl

      Lucy Lawless has a very loyal fan base. She will not lose any fans over this. Go Lucy!

      February 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hu

    Lucy I must chuckle, you stand there so proud wearing everything made from oil and protest. You no doubt travel in vehicles (including planes) that burn and use oil products and protest. You are as guilty as anyone, for utilizing oil,oil by-productes and still protest.
    One who protests of anything should NOT use the product (or by-product) of the item that they protest about. Should you eat and spit in the face of the provider? Should you drive or tavel accross the world protesting the provider of the fuel you are using?
    Lucy, take any and all items that are manufactured from oil out of your life, live this way for a dozen years and then, you may protest oil.
    Here are few items to divest yourself of: vehicles of fossil fuel consumption, Plastic like the bump-hat you are wearing for safety, the slicker you are wearing for comfort, the gloves you are wearing for protection, the non-stick cookwear your family uses for meal preparation, the plastic trash bags you toss your trash out in. I'm sure the list is enormous if you think about it. Don' just JUMP on th band wagon with out experiencing life with out oil products. Protesters like you are so amusing – stomping around, beating thier chests protesting the very thing they are using. You want to deprive future generations of the very things that have made YOU welthy and comfortable? How selfish.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • sam

      I don't think you get it. Perhaps you should stay quiet for 12 years before you are allowed to protest against protesting.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      I understand your argument is to call Lucy a hypocrite, but that does not make her intentions genuinely beneficial. If anything I would say that this is a radical shift from her "wealthy" status as you put it - Lucy is going from a mainstream media icon to a criminal activist. I believe her intentions are good and even if she did participate in an illegal ship hijack that's how activism gains momentum. It is important to recognize the impact of drilling for oil in all ecosystems because some are more fragile than others and the drilling alone can damage fauna and flora forever. With the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there is an influx of environmental activism. If it prohibits damaging the Earth and provides a safer, more "green-centric" change for us all then I would not disagree with "delaying" Shell's ships from drilling in the arctic.

      Also who are you to say that you don't contribute to polluting the Earth? I'm almost 100% positive that everybody at some point has contributed to pollution. Just because your famous or wealthy does not prohibit you from wanting to make a positive change on the environment. Despite Mrs. Lawless' methods of activism being illegal, I see this being positive for the world and our future generations.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • CHAV3Z

      I couldn't have said it better myself. Live by what you preach. There are so many hypocrites out there that are standing on their high and mighty pedestals while telling others to do something else. I'm sick of these sanctimoniousness protesters.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Using a gun to kill the guy who invented guns isn't the sort of irony you're looking to expose, here.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      I dont see her protesting drilling for oil in itself,but drilling in the arctic is what this article implied to me.
      But then again,I actually read the thing.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Your criticism is just plain ignorant. Yes, we all consume products made of oil, it's a condition that we often find hard to get around since it's in the cars we use and pretty much everything that's packaged. This, however, doesn't mean that we support it. Our protests about the dangers and damage drilling and other activities wreak on the Earth doesn't make us hypocrites just because we use these products. Rather, it is a protest against the status quo and an attempt to get corporations and the people that make these products to explore less detrimental alternatives and to be more environmentally and morally responsible when they make decisions to turn a profit. I always find comments like yours amusing because it always revolves around the argument that "hey, don't tell us how to live our lives, if it damages the environment so be it because it's our right." Well if your argument is based on that, then we as people who care about the environment should have the say right too. "THIS IS OUR PLANET ALSO, SO IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPLOIT IT, WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTEST AND TAKE MEASURES NECESSARY TO PROTECT IT." Given that laws seem to favor corporations and the mantra for governments is the the "Economy comes first," protests are the only things we're left with. So grow a brain, a spine, a sense of compassion and morality for all living things that will be affected by damage to the environment, because once it's destroyed, you can kiss the economy and your lives goodbye. No clean air, water, and vegetation = no life. When that time comes, whether in this lifetime or not, you and future generations will only have people like you to thank. Anyone who thinks the economy trumps the environment in importance is short-sighted. What good will a good economy do you when you're choking on fumes, burned by radiation from the sun, and drinking sewage? And how long can it possibly last once everything is gone?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • BD70

      She is not protesting oil or drilling for it. She is protesting drilling for it in the Arctic.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merryl Goldman

      There are some places in this world,not many that should remain un-touched. The Artic is one of them. We have destroyed so much of what is precious and good about this earth. The oceans,the waterways,the air, the rainforests and now this. Sometimes people have to take a stand. You can sit there and make fun of people who feel strongly about our earth,or you can be a steward of the only planet we have to live on. I don't know if you have children,but leaving them a disgusting,polluted earth is shameful.
      GO LUCY LAWLESS!!

      February 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xena the hypocrite

      love it.

      And you just have to love the self-righteousness of the environmentalists when you point out all the positive things about using oil and how they are cashing in on it.

      GreenPeace – It's allow about getting some type of headline ... so they can get more money.

      If you want to stop the drilling in the Arctic, then allow more drilling locally where it can be done safer and effectively. You all are a bunch of hypocrites....

      February 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. james stirk

    An illegal act that shouldn't go unpunished.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob in Pa

      Irony in action,,, we need a penal colony somewhere.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Will Curtis

      She's a has-been trying to get some publicity.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. OldGoat

    Sounds like trespassing to me. Was she and her ilk arrested? Also, since she seems to have a problem with drilling for oil, perhaps she should protest by not using or consuming anything manufactured from oil. That would not only prove she is sincere about her beliefs, it would demonstrate that she isn't the hypocrite she appears to be.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • brad

      anyone using "ilk" is crazy. same goes with "mark my words".

      February 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ts

    I wonder how she got there? I'm pretty sure she didn't sail there on a boat with no internal combustion engine – No doubt she wasted good fossil fuel & "burnt in the air to rain more destruction down on our grand children". I laugh at all these enviro-nazi's that own cars and heat their homes with anything but wood or sun. I say take away ALL of Lucy's "Carbon Consuming" luxuries like cars, electricity and heat and then see what they say.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Delphi22

      Lucy LIVES in New Zealand.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xena the hypocrite

      Lucy lives in New Zealand and flies back and forth the America on a regular basis.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    Take off your top, Lucy. They will pay attention to you then.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    The world and it's oil, it's like a junky looking for the next fix........... The only one who truly benefits is the dealer, wake up people.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Reading some of the other comments on here and then coming across yours, I have to say thank goodness there are still intelligent thinking people alive out there. Props bud.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Forrest for the trees

      Energy gets us to work and runs our factories & computers. We all benefit, not just the "dealers" in this scenario. The only way to get off the "drugs", is to go back to hunting & gathering & hand making your own tools from stones.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kurtis

    It doesn't sound like she's against oil all together. She just doesn't want there to be a devastating spill in an area where it can't be cleaned up and cause huge ecological problems. She's not going to land organizations and climbing up any towers is she? Some of you guys have missed the point. An arctic spill could never be cleaned up properly.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Xena the hypocrite

      And yet she is aligning herself with Greenpeace which has helped drive safe oil drill outside of the US in the deep waters..... huh.... if you want safe oil, then allow it in your own freaking neighborhood and stop putting the freaking seals at risk. I also don't believe that it can't be cleaned up or will naturally break down in the Arctic (although it would be harder and have a negative impact on the ecology). Why the companies do deep water drilling that has more risk to it ... because they are forced to.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frangible

    I like the part where she uses oil to go to to the oil protest.

    Princesses don't age well.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lung-Butter

    She looks so old now, I don't think doing Xena will be on my mind anymore.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JCMars

    A washed-up actor looking for headlines. If she plays according to Hoyle, next she will announce she's a lesbian.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Atropos

    It's either selective reading or you people have a problem with reading comprehension.
    She is not protesting all drilling. She is protesting drilling for oil in the arctic.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tess Tosterone

      How does one go about buying "Arctic Free" oil?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • IndyGirl

      They are too busy bashing her to pay attention to the message. Do not drill in the Artic. If we have a spill, they don't have the equipment to clean it up. It would be worse than what happened in the gulf.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xena the hypocrite

      You can buy "Arctic Free" oil buy freaking allowing them to drill in your own backyard (where there is plenty of oil and it can be obtained in a safer manner). But because of GreenPeace ... the oil companies are forced to drill off-shore in deep waters where there is greater risk.

      February 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tess Tosterone

    OK, she believes the message they wanted is out ... now, what difference does it make? Seriously, what changed or will change as a direct result of this stunt? Are any of us now going to ask if the gas we're putting in our cars came from an arctic rig? If it did, will it matter?

    February 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TheOnionEaters

    How does their being on this ship stop it from sailing? Unless they've locked themselves in the bridge, they can still make for open water.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ohhhk

    So...don't buy Shell gasoline.
    They really didn't have to go to this extreme to get that point across.
    You're only delaying the drilling, not stopping it.
    The workers on that boat have families to get back to and wages to make.
    Whatever it cost the Green People to get to New Zealand could have been used to get a campaign together to save the Arctic. THINK, people.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ready

      The workers are making their money she is not preventing that. The company can't stop paying them because someone is delaying their work that is not how things work.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Ohhk, Take ur advice and think before you write. The message is one of many (think civil rights demonstrations) that adds up to make a profound point. I think another print ad or tv spot would get lost in the mess. I like that they are being bold. This is just my opinion.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
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