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CNN Spotlights Arctic Drilling as Noble Discoverer Slips Its Moorings

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Shell Oil’s Noble Discoverer, the Arctic drilling ship that actress Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess fame occupied in New Zealand earlier this year along with Greenpeace, caused consternation on July 16 when it slipped off its moorings and drifted close to one of the Aleutian Islands, CNN reported.

Although the incident caused no damage, the ship was only 175 yards from shore when it came loose and floated toward shore from Unalaska Bay toward Dutch Harbor, Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara Francis told CNN.

"There are no reports of injuries, pollution and damage to the Noble Discoverer," she told the network on Sunday night.

Nonetheless, that did not assuage the fears of those opposed to such drilling. The various sides to the issue will be examined in a July 16 CNN special on Arctic drilling, Cold Wars: Drilling in the Arctic will be the focus of tonight’s Out Front with Erin Burnett at 7 p.m. ET on CNN. The journalist will look at all sides of the issues surrounding such drilling, which will take place in the Chuchki Sea, through the reporting of correspondent Miguel Marquez.

About two dozen ships owned by Shell have arrived or are en route to drill for exploration wells deep under the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Lawless pleaded guilty to trespassing in June in relation to the February incident, in which she and fellow Greenpeace activists set up camp on the ship while it was docked in Port Taranaki. She could spend up to three years in jail.