Noble nobbled by Xena – Shipping news –

Written by Dermot Loughnane on February 24, 2012

Noble nobbled by Xena

Actress Lucy Lawless is living up to her name by leading Greenpeace’s occupation of a US drillship in New Zealand.

The star of TV’s Xena: Warrior Princess boarded the 13,500-gt Noble Discover (built 1966) along with other activists on Friday morning to stop it sailing to the arctic.

Police went on to the ship and arrested the group, but they told the five officers they had a moral obligation to stay. The police later left, Greenpeace claimed.

Police said that following a series of meetings with the ship’s owner Noble Drilling of the US and the port of Taranaki, they had agreed “at this stage” to not force the protesters to move.

But they would continue to monitor the situation and would immediately respond if the protesters descended from the drilling tower.

“Although the protestors are breaking the law by being aboard the ship, they are in an isolated location on the ship which allows both the port and the ship to operate their normal business,” inspector Blair Telford said.

“We have considered various options and we have the skills, capabilities and equipment to deal with all options. However safety remains paramount and we won’t needlessly jeopardise the safety of our staff, the crew of the ship or the protesters.”

Greenpeace wants Shell to stop arctic exploration.

Shell spokeswoman Shona Geary said the oil major was disappointed Greenpeace had chosen this method to protest.

“Actions such as this jeopardise 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 Discoverer’s personnel and that of the protesters,” she said.

Noble Discoverer was due to depart on a 6,000 nautical mile journey to drill three exploratory oil wells in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska, Greenpeace said.

Lawless said: “Deep-sea oil drilling is bad enough, but venturing into the arctic, one of the most magical places on the planet, is going too far.

“I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world without these extraordinary places intact or where we ruin the habitat of polar bears for the last drops of oil.”