Lucy Lawless 'proud' of ship protest

Actor Lucy Lawless in the dock with fellow Greenpeace activists today. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Actor Lucy Lawless in the dock with fellow Greenpeace activists today. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Actor Lucy Lawless says she and and seven other Greenpeace activists are proud to have broken into Port Taranaki and occupied an oil drilling ship.

Lawless, Jan Raoni Hammer, Mike Ross Buchanan, Shayne Panayiotis Comino, Vivienne Rachel Hadlow, Shai Sebastian Naides, Zach Steven Penman and Ilai Amir were remanded on bail for two weeks when they appeared before Judge Josephine Bouchier in New Plymouth District Court this morning (Wed).

They are charged with entering an enclosed area at Port Taranaki without authority and with the intent to commit a crime after boarding the drill ship Noble Discoverer at the port in February and spending 77 hours up a 58 metre tower.

This morning was the activists' third remand but the charge had been changed from one of burglary.

Lawless stood demurely against the wood panelled wall, hands behind her back, while Judge Josephine Bouchier read the charges laid against her under her married name, Lucy Tapert.

Dressed in a navy blue skirt suit and white open necked shirt, an orange handkerchief in her breast pocket, Lawless towered over her seven co-accused Greenpeace activists in stiletto heels as the charge was read.

None of the accused entered a plea and police did not oppose bail.

Greenpeace said the group boarded the Shell-contracted to prevent it heading to the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska, to drill three exploratory oil wells.

Outside court, Lawless said she was proud to be part of the demonstration.

"I think we are all proud to have been part of it. It wasn't always easy but it was always good and it always felt right,'' Lawless said.

"I don't think that the world knew that Shell was planning to spearhead this attack on the Arctic. Hundreds of thousands of people have come on board to voice our opposition to the destruction that Shell can wreak in the Arctic.

"Seven of us climbed that drill ship but now 376,000 people have added their names to the call for Shell to stay out of the Arctic. That figure is growing every day,'' she 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?''

She said she was not planning any further protest action.

"Certainly I'm in this fight for the long-haul, as are all my colleagues here and hundreds of thousands of people who joined us in protest against Shell going into the Arctic.''

And Lawless added that she wasn't worried that a conviction would affect future overseas travel plans.

"To be honest I'm less afraid of what is going to happen to me, than what will happen if we don't change our practices in regards to the use of fossil fuels.''

Co-defendant Hadlow said the group was aware of the potential outcomes before taking action.

"We were happy going into this to accept a conviction and we knew that that was a possible consequence,'' she said.

Greenpeace NZ Climate Campaigner, Steve Abel, said the activists would probably enter pleas at their next hearing in two weeks.

- APNZ

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