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Lawless: 'Other heroes will rise up'

Published: 5:27AM Monday February 27, 2012 Source: ONE News

Actress Lucy Lawless is vowing to continue the fight against deep sea oil drilling despite police arresting her and five other protesters in Taranaki today.

In total seven protesters, including Lawless, have been charged with burglary after spending three nights onboard the Noble Discoverer an oil drilling ship which was heading to the Arctic.

Speaking outside the New Plymouth police station this afternoon, Lawless struck a defiant tone.

"We know that other heroes will rise up in our fervent mission to make sure the oil industry becomes an energy industry that is renewable and clean so all life on the planet will prosper."

Police said at 11am that they had sent "a couple of officers" on to the Noble Discoverer who climbed the drilling tower and asked the protesters again to come down.

They were held at New Plymouth police station this afternoon while charges were decided.

Greenpeace said the more serious charge of burglary was "unusual" when a lesser offence of 'unlawfully being on a ship' was available.

It says no property was taken or damaged during the occupation.

Lawless in Shell ad

As protesters were forced to end their occupation, it emerged Lawless starred in an advertisement for Shell in the early 1990s.

The advertisement shows a smiling Lawless starring as a petrol station attendant.

Reckless plans

The activists entered the Port of Taranaki at 6.30am on February 24, scaling the drilling tower of the ship and set up camp.

The ship was preparing to leave for the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska where it is scheduled to drill three exploratory oil wells this summer, Greenpeace said.

"In these four days we have shone a global spotlight on Shell's reckless plans to destroy the precious wild Arctic for just a few years of oil," said Viv Hadlow, one of the activists.

"It's insane that oil companies like Shell regard the melting of the Arctic sea ice not as a warning to humanity, but as a chance to drill for more of the oil that caused the problem in the first place.

"Today this occupation ended, but like the hundreds of thousands of people who have joined our cry to save the Arctic, we will not be silenced."

Five activists were arrested and charged today along with Lawless: Mike Buchanan from Christchurch, Shayne Comino from Christchurch, Raoni Hammer from Christchurch, Shai Nades from Wellington and Vivienne Hadlow from Auckland.

On Saturday, Auckland man Ilai Amir, 25, was forced to end his involvement in the occupation of the ship for personal reasons.

He was arrested upon disembarking and has also now been charged with burglary

All of the activists are due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court on Thursday.

Social media support

Over the course of the four day occupation, more than 133,000 people sent an email to Shell executives telling them to cancel their plans to drill in the Arctic, causing Shell email systems to overload repeatedly.

Thousands of people around the world also sent messages of support to Lawless and the activists via social media and the hashtag #SaveTheArctic, which featured on banners hung from the drillship, has trended on and off around the world over the past four days.

Celebrities like actor Jared Leto and the official Beatles twitter account also posted messages to their followers.

"I can't wait to get home to my kids to tell them all about this amazing journey, but I'm so glad I took part in this peaceful action," Lawless said.

"I am in awe of the multitudes of people who have sent us so many inspiring messages of support, not to mention my fellow activists who put their personal liberties on the line to stand up to Shell's mad plans to drill in the Arctic.

"We did what we came to do. Together we sent a clear message that has been heard and echoed across the globe: there's no place in this world for your reckless Arctic oil."

Shell pleased

Shell says it is is pleased the Greenpeace protesters' "unlawful trespass" on the Noble Discoverer ended safely. 

"We have every confidence in the police professionalism and in their capabilities to deal safely and effectively with the situation," said Rob Jager, Chairman of Shell New Zealand.

"From the outset our primary concern has been for the safety of all concerned. Routine work has continued on the Noble Discover to the extent it can be done without jeopardising that safety." 

Jager said Shell provided Greenpeace with "a reasonable opportunity to engage in productive conversation" and is disappointed they have not responded.

"We will continue to extend the offer."  

Earlier, Shell said the Greenpeace activists were told this morning that the Noble Discoverer would be moved away from its berth for a short time and turned around in a routine operation to take on fuel.

Jager said three pilot boats would slowly tow the Noble Discoverer out from the quay and, assisted by the vessel's propellers, turn it around before it returned to the same location to take on fuel.

Those on board would experience the ship's movements but nothing substantial, he said.