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People are voting to call new ship ‘Boaty McBoatface’

Sail boat gliding in the open sea at sunset

Perhaps letting the internet decide the name of a new multimillion pound ship wasn’t the best idea.

When the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) launched an online poll to name their new ship, it probably didn’t predict what the frontrunner could be.

In a statement, NERC said: “Tonne-for-tonne, the ship – together with NERC’s existing two blue water research ships – will provide the UK with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world and will help put the UK at the forefront of ocean research for years to come.”

Understandably, they wanted a name to reflect the ship’s excellence. “An inspiration name that exemplifies the work it will do,” NERC said, providing the examples of a local historical figure, movement, or landmark or a famous explorer or scientist.

But the internet seems to disagree. The £200m research vessel could be called RRS Boaty McBoatface as people have been voting in their thousands for the name.

In fact, the suggestion has been sailing ahead of other more conventional ideas such as Endeavour and David Attenborough.

The man behind the tongue-in-cheek idea, James Hand, has since apologised to NERC for his input. But this hasn’t detracted from the name’s popularity despite the increasing number of similarly ridiculous suggestions like ‘Thanks for all the fish’, ‘Big Metal Floaty Thingy-Thing’ and ‘It’s bloody cold here’.

Whilst Hand acknowledges his part, he told BBC Radio Jersey: “The storm that has been created has got legs of its own.” The website has periodically crashed due to the overwhelming interest in naming the boat.

Fortunately for NERC, the organisation does have the final say when the vote closes on the 16th April.