English Polar Research Vessel Won't Be Named 'Boaty McBoatface'


Sorry, internet: The UK's brand-new, nearly $300 million polar research ship won’t be called Boaty McBoatface, BBC News reports. Instead, it’s going to be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough, after the legendary English broadcaster and naturalist, officials announced this morning. As a consolation prize, they’re giving the name Boaty McBoatface to a high-tech Arctic submarine instead.

"The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I'm delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation's most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists," England’s science minister, Jo Johnson, said in a statement.

The vessel made international headlines in March after the UK's Natural Environment Research Council’s website (NERC) launched an open online poll to find it a name. Perhaps a little too predictably, voters ignored the NERC’s stipulations that the name be "inspirational and about environmental and polar science.”

The name Boaty McBoatface—which was jokingly suggested by former BBC presenter James Hand—ended up receiving a total of 124,109 votes, beating more dignified suggestions like the RRS Poppy-Mai and Henry Worsley. (Worsley was a famous British explorer, who died last January while trying to cross the Antarctic unaided.) Other nominations included It's Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!!, and Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.

Not surprisingly, government officials ended up overriding the poll once it finally ended on April 16. Their final selection, the RSS David Attenborough, only received 10,284 votes, and ranked fifth overall, Gizmodo reports. However, leading scientists say it’s a good name for a state-of-the-art research ship—and a fitting way to celebrate the renowned Attenborough, who turns 90 on Sunday.

"We are delighted with the name RRS David Attenborough,” Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey (one of the ship’s primary users), told BBC News. “He is an important public figure who has engaged and inspired the public over generations with his passion for the natural world. This new ship will be at the forefront of polar science and deliver world-leading capability for UK research in both Antarctica and the Arctic."

[h/t BBC News]

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