Lucy Lawless Sentenced for Boarding Oil Tanker; Says Protest was Success

Thursday, 07 Feb 2013 08:07 AM

By Dale Eisinger

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Actress Lucy Lawless claimed success in an environmental protest after being handed only a moderate sentence for boarding an arctic oil-drilling ship with seven other Greenpeace activists, then climbing a drilling tower and refusing to leave for four days.

The former "Xena: Warrior Princess" star was in court for sentencing on Thursday. A judge in Lawless' native New Zealand ordered each member of the protest to pay about $540 in fines and perform 120 hours community service.

"I consider it a great victory that the court has struck down the reparation demand from Shell, which I think was absolutely ludicrous," Lawless told Sky News.

The Greenpeace activists staged the event in protest of oil exploration in the Arctic region.

Last February, Lawless, 44, and her companions climbed a drilling tower on the arctic-bound Noble Discoverer. The ship sat docked in New Zealand's Port Taranaki, set to head to the South Pole in search of crude.

Lawless stayed at the top of the drilling tower for four days. While there, she blogged and tweeted about the occupation to raise awareness.

"Seven of us came up the tower on Shell's drillship but 4 days later 130,000 will come down. In solidarity we can #savethearctic," she tweeted after she climbed up the 174-foot tower.

Four days later, police arrested Lawless and five other Greenpeace activists, according to the Associated Press.

Shell Todd Services, who had chartered the ship, were after nearly $550,000 in damages for the stunt. Lawyers for the defense claimed the sum was outrageous. A judge award Shell no costs, but told the company it could pursue the claim through civil court.

"I've got three kids. My sole biological reason for being on this planet is to ensure that they can flourish, and they can't do that in a filthy, degraded environment," Lawless told The Associated Press when she was perched atop the tower. "We need to stand up while we still can."

A Greenpeace New Zealand spokesperson told NBC News that 100,000 people had written to Shell in protest of the Arctic drilling plans, as a result of the protest.

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