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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Of course, take them along for the ride!
    "What do you do with a drunken sailor?"
    Throw the drunken sailor, and the protesters who went to great trouble to climb onto the ship, into the brig until the ship returns to home port where the actress did her Greenpeace/PR climb onto a ship. Then give them a bill for passage.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GrizzlyBaer

    The comment about "how much fuel did they use to get there" hits the nail right on the head. While these protests do get public attention, I feel they are going about this all wrong. Let's face it, until they demand for fossil fuels is dramatically reduced, the oil companies will be drilling wherever the oil is!!! Activists need to advocate the reduction of fossil fuel usage by promoting other alternatives that are LESS damaging to the environment. I say "LESS" because just about every technology we know about produces some waste either during production, by-products of usage or in disposal of no longer used items. Transportation alternatives have been slow to advance so it has been very hard for the general public to adopt them. I ask that we all do our part. Once a technology you feel comfortable about is available, bite he bullet, make the adjustment and go for it. I will be willing to bet that you will not regret it even once!!!!

    February 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • DBPlant

      "Activists need to advocate the reduction of fossil fuel usage by promoting other alternatives that are LESS damaging to the environment."

      Have you been asleep for the last twenty years?

      February 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      they're not protesting oil consumption.
      they're not protesting oil drilling.

      They're protesting oil drilling IN THEIR BACKYARD.

      They could care less that millions of people are dieing in the Middle East to ensure "stability" to keep the oil flowing, so they won't protest there, or stop using oil.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • leelanau

      I'm still waiting on Greenpeace to show up on the high seas in their sleek new solar powered ships to confront the whalers.....

      February 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • DBPlant

      Bill, you've come up with this conclusion... how? You think that most of the protesters live in the Arctic? And how on earth do you know how they feel about what's going on in the Middle East with regards to oil? Although you're probably right, in that they *could* care less–much, much less–than they actually do.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. perv

    She'd get more attention if she took her shirt off.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • leelanau

      Let's go Red Wings!!!

      February 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    You're right Jj, the planet will survive, but WE wont! You need to use your head! We have been poisoning the air, water & land w/our waste & our creature comforts for centuries! The industrial revolution has stepped up that "effort" several notches! The planet may be left worse for wear, when we're done w/it, but will probably rally (unless we somehow leave it sterile)! We however, are already dealing w/side effects of continuing on the same path that we know is detrimental! 1 of the most diagnosed conditions of late is adult onset asthma, attributed to poor air quality in our cities! We're already drinking bottled water, tap water being unfit for anything but washing & boiling! Oil companies are notoriouly unconcerned about the impact their presence has on the environment & often leave drill sites in ruin! If we're kind to the planet it will continue to support our species for millennia to come, if we don't give a shyte, we will kill ourselves off w/our poison, greed, arrogance & leave the place in ruins!!

    February 24, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Yawn

    They're trespassing. Throw them over the side and let them swim home.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Greg

    It amazes me why a useless hollywood bimbo would think anyone cares what she has to say.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rod C. Venger

    Ms Lawless,

    Your name is quite appropriate. And while I appreciate you showing me your tiits, fact is, if you had boarded my ship in the middle of the night, you and your friends would have come under fire. I guess the pirates off the coast of Sudan just need a greenpeace "uniform" and a hardhat and they'll get a pass, huh?

    Life is a risk. You risk your life every time you stick your head out in public, even just sitting in your own livingroom. You say that we're needlessly risking the environment by using this ship and drilling platform, yet neither one has ever spilled. Maybe some day one or both will. Or maybe not. It's pathetic that you hold innocent people hostage with your imagined fears. Lawless behavior is not the answer. You'd probably not be alive if you'd scrambled onto my ship. You should think about that. People can't read your mind or your intentions. I suppose next time it'll be AQ wearing "uniforms" and hardhats...and a bomb.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Don't buy gas on Friday's

    February 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. scranton

    Well she couldn't make it in acting hopefully she has a shot at Green Peace.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Typical idiot protester: Covered in oil (both in products and used to product products), only protests drilling in Alaska, California, and other "pretty places I own". Never do they protest in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

    So the real issue, as is evidenced by their continued high usage of oil, is "not in my backyard".

    Which is why we're in Iraq: To keep the oil flowing and prices down so idiots like this can protest in Alaska to stop local oil production.

    Point being: The only respectable protest of oil usage is not using it. Turn off your lights. Turn off your heat. Sell your car. Don't buy any food or clothing or any other products produced or transported using oil.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • leelanau

      You're missing the point entirely. Haven't you learned anything from Al Gore? It isn't about them. it's about you, and the fact that they know what's best for you, regardless of their own actions.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • DBPlant

      The Arctic isn't their backyard. And if you'd actually read the article–and I know that it's asking a lot for a typical idiot right-winger to read–you'd know that they were specifically targeting this Arctic expedition (again, *not* in their backyard) because of the likely irreversible damage that would result there should a spill occur.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Liz the First

    Go, Lucy!!!!!!!!!!!!! she just went up a ton of notches in my book! if more people stood up to these companies who think it's ok to put all life on earth in jeopardy for a few bucks, maybe our grandchildren would have a decent world to live in. as long as we have idiots who think it doesn't matter what we do to the planet, we're all in danger. the environment is what keeps us all alive, it's not some little thing on a shelf somewhere that we can care about or not. if it goes south, we go with it! how hard is that to understand??? how stupid do people have to be to keep denying what's right in front of them? how bad does it have to get before they realize we are facing the greatest danger civilization has ever faced?

    February 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      Gee Liz, you DO know that by using a computer, a refrigerator, a car...or anything else that uses a fuel or electricity, that it's YOU that are putting the world at risk, right? The oil companies acquire, transport and modify the oil that they handle, but they sell far far more than they use themselves. There is a demand for oil, natural gas, uranium, coal, corn and other materials that people use for fuel and electricity. The oil companies merely supply what people like YOU demand to have. You can't blame the oil companies for trashing the environment. The only person YOU should properly blame is YOU. Somehow I doubt if your computer or iphone is running on solar or wind-power and I'm guessing that you're not using ice to keep your food and beer cold. I'll bet you drive far more than you bike or walk, and I'll bet the TV in your hut (lol) consumes more energy than anything else besides your heater and air conditioner. YOU are the problem Liz...not the oil companies.

      February 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    You're right Jj, the planet will survive, but WE wont! We have been poisoning the air, water & land w/our waste & our creature comforts for centuries! The industrial revolution has stepped up that "effort" several notches! The planet may be left worse for wear, when we're done w/it, but will probably rally (unless we somehow leave it sterile)! We, however, are already dealing w/side effects of continuing down the same path that we know is detrimental! 1 of the most diagnosed conditions of late, is adult onset asthma, attributed to poor air quality in our cities! We're already drinking bottled water, tap water being unfit for anything but washing & boiling! Oil companies are notoriouly unconcerned about the impact their presence has on the environment & often leave drill sites in ruin! If we're kind to the planet it will continue to support our species for millennia to come, if we ignore the scientific warnings, we will succumb to our poison, greed, arrogance & leave the place in ruins!!

    February 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Louise

    Greenpeace actually docked at Oliktok Point, an arctic ocean dock that belongs to an oil company. We all asked 'where are their sails and wood burning steam engines that got them there; surely they didn't use a petroleum product to get there??" Having been on a spill response team in the Arctic for an oil company, I can assure you she doesn't know diddly squat about oil cleanup there.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. celcius232

    If I were Noble I would not let them off the rig until I got to Alaska and then let them swim to shore and feed the polar bears.

    February 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jk

      If you really believe in killing people for your oil, head to the nearest recruiting office. They welcome fools who kill and die for corporate profits.

      February 24, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tim

    Greenpeace's stated strategy is to make a public stink over environmental issues. But they are never willing to discuss the issues with all stakeholders. Thus, they take idealist positions without finding real solutions. I believe that if they were willing to engage in real dialogue they would find that the other stakeholders would be willing to discuss and even act upon other residual risks.

    Personally, I have no respect for people who complain but who do not even try to understand the issue from all points of view.

    February 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      Good call, Tim. Even PETA, as extremist as they are, understand certain realities of the world, and of people, and they sometimes wisely pick their battles. Othertimes...lol...just off the deepend. But Greenpeace thinks that it's vision of how things should be in the only vision worth considering. There's no room for compromise, improvement in standards or procedures that could less the risks...in their mind the only solution is to stop, and that's just not realistic...therefore no one can take them seriously. They have their donors, they get to keep traveling the world and living well, and that seems to be the end all and be all of their existence. They leech off of others and accomplish nothing.

      February 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • felix

      If the are tresspassing shoot them!

      February 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • hoop

      Hmm, I wonder how she got to New Zealand in the first place. Hopefully she swam or rowed...

      February 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Her husband is a rich producer, why does she care about oil prices?

      February 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jk

      Right, oil companies would love to sit down and talk about not drilling. Are you out of your mind? They sit down with our government and literally write our energy policy. Your ignorance is astonishing and with your mindset, America would still be a British colony.

      February 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
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