'Warrior Princess’ Lucy Lawless was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and ordered to pay what amounts to $547US ($651NZ) in fines, along with seven fellow protesters who occupied a docked Shell drill ship in New Zealand for several days last year to protest Arctic drilling.
She was arrested in February 2012 after she and six other Greenpeace activists boarded Shell’s Noble Discoverer, assisted by a seventh person working on the ground. Last June, facing a potential of three years in prison, Lawless pleaded guilty to trespassing.
The boat’s chartering company, Shell Todd Oil Services, had been demanding $545,000US ($650,000NZ) in reparations, the Associated Press reported.
"I consider it a great victory that the court has struck down the reparation demand from Shell, which I think was absolutely ludicrous," the Xena: Warrior Princess actress told AP.
Lawless is best known for her title role in "Xena" and more recently for starring in the Starz cable television series "Spartacus." Sentenced along with her were fellow defendants Raoni Hammer from Lyttleton, Mike Buchanan from Diamond Harbour, Shayne Comino from Lyttleton, Viv Hadlow from Auckland, Shai Naides from Spain, Zach Penman from Hamilton and Ilai Amir from Auckland, Lawless said in a statement on her website.
Regardless of the penalty, Lawless—who now stars in Spartacus, the Starz cable television series, remains undeterred and will continue protesting, she told AP.
“We are proud to have taken part in our attempt to stop Shell’s reckless plans to drill for oil in the pristine Arctic,” she said after her sentencing, in a Greenpeace statement. “Since we occupied the Noble Discoverer, it has become evident to everyone watching, from the millions who have signed Greenpeace petitions, to the US Government, now examining Shell’s plans, that it can never be safe to drill in the Arctic.”
After the protestors’ four-day occupation, the Noble Discoverer sailed north to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, where it slipped its moorings a couple of times and its containment dome failed in testing in Seattle, preventing its deployment in the Arctic. Shell was forced to scotch its Chukchi Sea plans until 2013 when it ran out of drilling-season time.
“Shell’s Arctic program has cost them billions, and it’s now regarded as an eye-wateringly expensive failure,” the actress and mother of three said. “Let’s embrace clean energy; we’re going to have to anyway, so why not do it before they cause a major oil spill in the Arctic, and consign our grandchildren to an uncertain and dangerous world?”