Film and TV star Lucy Lawless and seven activists were today convicted and sentenced to 120 hours community service each and for attempting to stop an Arctic-bound oil drilling ship last year.

Along with six Greenpeace volunteers, the New Zealand actress occupied the Shell-chartered Noble Discoverer in New Plymouth last February in a move that captured headlines around the world.

Speaking outside Taranaki District Court, Lawless said: "We are proud to have taken part in our attempt to stop Shell’s reckless plans to drill for oil in the pristine Arctic.

“Since we occupied the Noble Discoverer, it has become evident to everyone watching, from the millions who have signed Greenpeace petitions, to the US Government, now examining Shell’s plans, that it can never be safe to drill in the Arctic.

“Shell’s Arctic programme has cost them billions and it’s now regarded as an eye-wateringly expensive failure.

“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?”

Lawless and six others climbed the drilling tower of the Noble Discoverer on February 24, 2012 while it was moored in Port Taranaki. All were arrested after a 77-hour occupation of the tower. An eighth person was arrested on the first day of the operation. The ship had been working off the Taranaki coast and was preparing for the first stage of its trip to the Arctic.

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