Actress Lucy Lawless sets off in Greenpeace ship to confront Arctic oil drillers
Thursday, July 20 - New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless has just set sail on the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, to confront the Norwegian oil giant Statoil as it drills for oil in the Arctic.
Up until last month, the state-owned Norwegian company was in New Zealand waters where it was prospecting for oil off the Wairarapa Coast using the world’s largest seismic surveying ship, the Amazon Warrior.
During this time Lawless helped Greenpeace crowdfund for a boat, named Taitu, which the environmental organisation used to confront the Amazon Warrior at sea, stopping it from seismic blasting for a period of time.
She is now following Statoil across the globe and will spend just over a week in the Arctic with a team of climate activists, tailing the company as it drills for oil in one of the most pristine parts of the planet.
The Norwegian Government is opening up a new oil frontier in the Arctic, the northernmost for 20 years, and Statoil will drill up to seven wells there this year.
In November, Greenpeace and the Norwegian organisation, Nature & Youth, will take the Government to court, arguing that it is violating The Paris Agreement and the Norwegian Constitution.
Lawless says climate change is a global issue and the fossil fuels companies that drive it must be challenged wherever they are.
She will be updating people on her journey over social media as it unfolds.
“For me it’s more than a case of ‘not in our own backyard’. Climate change is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. The companies driving it must be pursued and stopped - we will confront them in every corner of the world,” she says.
“New Zealand is my homeland. I cannot stand by as big oil companies come in to drill against all our best interests. The age of oil must end.”
The Arctic trip follows on from Greenpeace’s at-sea action against Statoil in New Zealand.
Three swimmers, including Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director Dr Russel Norman, travelled more than 50 nautical miles off the Wairarapa Coast in the crowdfunded boat, Taitu, in search of the Amazon Warrior, which has been blasting for oil on behalf of Statoil.
Norman and two others then put themselves in the water in front of the 125-metre long ship, forcing it to change course and cease blasting for a day.
Both Greenpeace and the three swimmers have been charged under the ‘Anadarko Amendment’ of the Crown Minerals Act. It’s the first time anyone has been charged under the controversial law, which was passed in 2013 without public consultation, and is designed stop protest against oil ships at sea.
The activists face jail time and, along with Greenpeace, face large fines.
Watch the Facebook Live video of Lucy Lawless on board here.