People Want A £200m Arctic Research Ship To Be Called “Boaty McBoatface”

HMS LOL.

1. The Natural Environment Research Council has had the rather jaunty idea of asking the general public to name its brand new ship.

The new Polar research vessel is currently being built at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, and will be Britain’s biggest and most advance research ship yet.

Once complete in 2019, it will travel to the Arctic to carry out important research in polar environments using robotic, satellite and underwater monitoring technology, in order to help us understand the global impact of changing sea-levels.

The ship will weigh 15,000 tonnes, have 20 science labs on board, and will carry nine double-decker buses worth of scientific equipment.

Creating the ship will have cost £200million.

NERC has asked the general public to submit names for the boat and then vote for their favourites.

6. It seems though, that people are not taking the naming of a £200million massive boat, meant for ~serious~ environmental research, all that seriously.

8. There were dedications to the musical greats we’ve loved and lost recently.

10. And some very British suggestions…

11. … because nothing says Great British spirit like taking the piss out of things.

12. Someone thought it might be a laugh to reference the Titanic in the name of the new ice ship.

13. Probably best not mention that though, eh?

14. But the resounding front-runner, in the lead by more than 10,000 votes, is “Boaty McBoatface”.

Looks like we could end up with a 129m, £200m, 5k tonne polar research vessel called...erm...'RRS BOATY MCBOATFACE'. https://t.co/dce0sxrdzr

— Al McCartney (@almccrtny)

15. Unless ol’ Harry Worsley, the nomination in second place, does some pretty major catching up, Boaty could be going to sea!

Our current top 4 #NameOurShip suggestions. Have you voted yet? https://t.co/Vv5Or05r9l

— NERC (@NERCscience)

16. But really, did anyone think members of the public could be trusted with this kind of responsibility?

On the subject of owls, this is still my absolute favourite owl thing of all time. #HootyMcOwlface

— Mark Kelly (@Fryguy64)

17. James Hand, who nominated the amusing name that looks set to be emblazoned on the side of a big ship, is “terribly sorry about all of this”.

I'm terribly sorry about all of this, @NERCscience.

— James Hand (@JamesHand)

18. But ultimately, the nominated name of the boat will be decided by a panel, in accordance with a criteria suggested on NERC’s website, and not determined by public vote.

A spokesperson for NERC told BuzzFeed News that they are “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity people have shown,” and that they are “very much enjoying hearing everyone’s ideas”.

“We’ve had 7,000 suggestions made on the website since we officially launched it yesterday; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists,” they added.

“We have suggested some criteria for the name on our website and the final decision will be made by a panel and announced later this year.”

19. Following NERC’s clarification that a panel rather than the public vote would determine the name of the boat, people were outraged.

2016: The year we all realized democracy was a beautiful but doomed experiment. https://t.co/D8mauciVRd

— Elizabeth Picciuto (@epicciuto)

20. Including the boat itself.*

@laurafleur It's an outrage and a travesty of justice

— Boaty McBoatface (@Mcboatfacepride)

*parody account not actually affiliated with the sea-vessel in question.

22. Some mused on what the consequences of not listening to the people’s plea to name the boat “Boaty McBoatface” might be.

If the convention overturns the will of the people I predict there will be riots, or at least disappointed tutting https://t.co/X5nlggUAjZ

— Leigh Caldwell (@leighblue)

23. While others had faith that the people’s wishes would be honoured.

Any panel worth its salt will follow the people's will https://t.co/7SxA5jpSH4

— Tom Rahilly (@tomrahilly)

The people have spoken. Hope the panel do the right thing. https://t.co/nJr6XyOrDD

— Leah Kreitzman (@lkreitzman)

The official name of the boat will be announced in April.

CORRECTION

An NERC panel will name the boat, taking public suggestions and the importance of the ship’s scientific role into consideration. The boat’s name will not be determined by the public vote, as a previous version of this article stated.

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Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.
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