(Bloomberg) — Boaty McBoatface, the runaway winner in a U.K. poll to name a scientific research vessel, was discarded by ministers who opted instead to call the ship after David Attenborough, the television presenter famed for his natural history documentaries.
Even so, Boaty McBoatface will live on as the name of one of the RSS Sir David Attenborough’s sub-sea vehicles, the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council said Friday in a statement on its website. The 200 million-pound ($290 million) polar vessel is due to set sail in 2019 to carry out research in the Arctic and Antarctica.
“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,” said Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson.
The contest sparked a storm on Twitter and received press coverage around the world after the name suggested by a former BBC employee, James Hand, surged ahead, eventually polling 124,000 votes, more than three times those of the runner-up. Hand himself apologized on Twitter to the NERC, saying “I’m terribly sorry about all this, @NERCscience.” He said he hadn’t voted for his own suggestion, opting instead for Sir David Attenborough, which came fourth.
“I’m really pleased to hear Boaty McBoatface will live on,” he said Thursday in a Twitter post. “The name appeals to the child in us: that’s one of the reasons it’s been so popular.”