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. SixDegrees

    Lawless was a decent actress in 'Xena'. And she's still pretty hot. Neither of which gives her an authoritative voice on anything other than 1) playing the part of Xena, and 2) being hot. Her opinions on oil drilling, arctic wildlife or the environment don't receive any support from her actual areas of expertise.

    February 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nero

      What makes you an expert on what Lucy Lawless knows or doesn't know. Maybe she is informed... unlike you!

      February 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • zivo24

      What on their acting resumes made Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger experts on running a state or a country?

      At least Lawless is taking a stand that doesn't benefit her personally. That can't be said about Ronnie or Ahnold.

      February 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JonnyFreedom

      Well i suppose as online posters we have no authority either on oil drilling, economic or social democracy or any of the hundreds of other big ideas that need a change so Ill just sit back and have my government and the corporations it supports continue to just walk all over me with out a single sound of dissent because Im not an expert. Absolutely not, this is America, Don't Tread on me

      February 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nero

    Why is it okay to destroy the earth and jeopardize our childrens future just to make a dollar? Easy, you justify it by realizing that you'll be dead before it really becomes a problem. That makes you selfish and greedy or just plain ignorant. Which are you?

    February 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jinpei

      Funny, because by your definition, you are doing the same thing. Where does the electricity you are using to post this with come from? Who manufactured your PC, shipping parts from across the globe?
      So which of the two are you?

      February 27, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nero

    If you are one of those ignorant people that think people are more important than the earth, then you are not thinking ahead. Yes, we may be providing jobs for people today, but we're destorying the earth for EVERYONE in the end.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      I can live without stories.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • rubes

      Feel free to remove yourself then, and help save the world.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DavidUK

    Great to see Lucy taking a stand about something she believes in – as I can see from the other comments, she's certainly not doing it to win friends in USA.
    Turn the air-conditioning down, drive smaller cars, join the rest of the world – it's really not that difficult!
    Sometimes USA reminds me of the story about the proud mother watching a school march and saying to the other mums "look, my little boy is the only one marching in step".

    February 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • KidIndigo

      Great post, DavidUK. I'm tired of we Americans whining about rising gas prices as we drive our Dodge Ram trucks back and forth to work as a primary passenger vehicle (one passenger only, of course), whose primary energy policy seems to be the revolutionary "drill baby, drill!" Used to be America was regarded as visionary. Not for much longer, with policies like that. Love the proud mother analogy – don't be disappointed if it soars over many peoples' heads.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Booaaah

      In fairness, our demand has gone down, many of us have changed. There are those, as always, that have to be dragged kicking and screaming to go along with progress.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Primus

    File this under "things to do when you're no longer famous, but missing the limelight terribly".

    February 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shocked monkey

    You two sadden me to no end. Humanity's impact on global warming is most likely negligible, based on the sheer mass of co2 and other pollutants thrown into the air after each volcano eruption. Killing ecosystems by continuing the bass ackwards , primitive pursuit of fossil fuels, however is NOT negligible. Killing ecosystems spells an early doom for humans.

    Some of you yahoos worry about the cost at the pump, or simply enjoy spouting venomous tripe. Worry about how we are going to rid ourselves of dinosaur dependency. How can we create and STORE energy in an efficient and non-destructive manner?

    Dollars won't mean anything if society crumbles and grinds to a halt because we have no dino-fuel left or some country is angry at us, and decides not to sell it to us.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      Show me the report that's says fossil fuels are destroying the earth. BTW. Volcanos have been erupting since we have been on earth. Guess what? We are still here. one volcano eruption emits so much bad stuff into the air that it equals 100 years of auto emissions. My point is that we couldn't destroy the earth with fossil fuel even if we tried. Use your heads people

      February 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Drill a giant hole in the earth, then suck sludge through pipes leaving a cavern of empty space under the ground. "Frac" the ground for oil then pour the sandy slush refuse on the ground. Where do you think all of the waste by-products go? In the ground, of course. You don't need a report or article to know that oil is a dirty environmental disaster at every turn. Not to mention the complete waste of efficiency in trying to make ethanol, and trucking/shipping those barrels around.

      How are fossil fuels NOT destructive? Not enough emissions from burning carbon out of your tailpipe? Get a clue.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom Hanson

    What did the boat run on that took them there?

    February 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      Maybe she was doing Gabriell. That would power my motor.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      No boat necessary. She and the other protestors live in New Zealand... the boat is anchored in New Zealand. And Lucy said they just walked on like regular people. Cheers!

      February 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anon

    Lol. The arctic and the earth are going to be just fine no matter what we do to it. We might not fair so well, but the Earth with rectify any issues we could ever cause it. Besides, the Earth's axis has shifted. And if you don't think so then you are completely ignorant of what's really going on with the Earth because you get all your news from CNN or FOX. What a gimmick.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Yes, this is all really a "save the humans" endeavor. I'm ok with saving the humans, being one and all. That doesn't mean we treat the earth like a rented mule and trash it. The earth will spin with or without us, but the story of mankind hinges on how we treat our natural resources.

      We have to stop chasing dollar bills and start trying to find equity and equality for all humans. If we can stop quibbling about these pedantic superficial wants, and use our minds and science for the betterment of ALL mankind none of this will matter. That clearly will never happen, since greed is so tantalizing to some.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ricky d

    Wonder what her car runs on? #Hypocrite

    February 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      Electicity, Sir. She drives a Prius! She has solar panels on her house and has an ecogarden. No hipocricy there!

      February 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dana

    I guess using the" L"word instead of Gay woman gets a censor.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angela

      @ Dana – Lucy is not Gay. She has played a gay icon but just because she can play gay doesn't make her gay. Cheers!

      February 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rubes

    Boy – she is starting to age... The boat owners should just toss the old fish overboard. Or just go ahead and set sail and make them sit there on deck throughout the voyage. I don't see why they have to change their plans for an old has-been actress and some yahoos. I do assume she rowed from the US to NZ using those power arms, and not using any fuel or anything...

    February 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Angela

    You go, Greenpeace! Fight the good fight until the world is the best place it can be!

    February 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jon

    So "Xena" gets a reference, but no love for "Battlestar Galactica"?

    February 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lari Spitler

    I'm paid $4.79 a gallon of gas last Friday. Drop my gas to under $3.20 and I'll scale oil rigs with you Lucy. Till then I don't care.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patiat

      They could drill everything they wanted. Your price for gas won't go down because of it.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • zivo24


      If you think the price of a gallon of gas has anything to do with where or even how much oil is're not smart enough to be driving.

      By the way, all cars in Brazil operate on ethanol from low grade sugar cane and have done so since the mid-90s. The cars operate more cleanly and efficiently and it's created lots of jobs. The only reason we're still depending on oil here in the U.S. is because big business and government keeps us that way.

      February 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lostmind

    If It was me I would have tossed them back over the side. Like the small fish they are.

    February 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • john smiith

      But not before drilling Lucy

      February 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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