Swindon-based NERC held a competition to name their new polar research ship, and ‘Boaty McBoatface’ was a clear favourite throughout, finishing with 124,109 votes.
However, it has now been revealed that this winning name, suggested by BBC Radio journalist James Hand, will be dropped for a more ‘inspirational name’: RSS David Attenborough – which grabbed 10,284 votes in the original poll.
The name change followed polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes expressed his concern over the name in the London Evening Standard, calling for NERC to change it to something which would reflect its ‘serious’ work.
The name Sir David Attenborough was chosen to honour the broadcaster’s 90th birthday this year. Sir David said he was “truly honoured” by the decision.
Science minister Jo Johnson said: “The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we’re ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew, and the polar science education programme that will bring their work to life.”
“This vessel will carry the Attenborough name for decades to come, as it fulfils its mission to explore the oceans and put Britain at the forefront of efforts to preserve our precious marine environment.”
The 128m-long, 15,000-tonne RRS Sir David Attenborough will be built in Merseyside, supporting 400 jobs and 60 apprenticeships, and is due to set sail in 2019. Boaty McBoatface will be sent to collect data and samples remotely from the deepest waters of the Arctic and Antarctic.