The public vote to name Britain’s most advanced polar research vessel has now closed, and RRS Boaty McBoatface has emerged as the clear winner with 124,109 votes on the Name Our Ship campaign website.
But the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) — which closed its poll to name the $284 million ship on April 16 — may not use the public’s choice after all, according to recent comments from the science minister Jo Johnson.
“You won’t be surprised to know that we want something that fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavour,” Johnson told The Daily Telegraph. “The public has come up with some fantastic and very imaginative suggestions [for the name]. We are reviewing all of them. We will come to a decision in due course.”
A spokesperson for the NERC told Business Insider that the decision was unlikely to be made this week, and declined to add to Johnson’s comments.
While RRS Boaty McBoatface is the most popular of the 7,000 names suggested, RRS Poppy-Mai is the second favourite with 34,371 votes, followed by RRS Henry Worsley with 15,231.
Another humorous entry, RRS It’s bloody cold in here, came in fourth place with 10,679 votes, followed by RRS David Attenborough, which received 10,284 votes.
Former BBC presenter James Hand, who originally suggested the name Boaty McBoatface, told The Guardian he has voted for the ship to be named after David Attenborough.
“I made the suggestion but the storm that’s been created — it’s got legs of its own,” Hand told The Guardian. “I just feel it’s a very British thing, which a lot of people have pointed out.”
Before the launch of its Name Our Ship campaign, the NERC made clear that it would have the final say in a press statement.
“Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the Natural Environment Research Council’s Name Our Ship campaign,” the NERC spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve had an extremely high volume of suggestions and will now review all of the suggested names. The final decision will be announced in due course.”
The research funding organisation will be posting updates on the ship’s name on its Twitter page.
The government-funded vessel will be built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Merseyside, and is expected to be ready for expeditions in Antarctica and the Arctic in 2019, according to a press release from the NERC.
People on the internet are still hopeful that when the ship sets sail, it will do so as Boaty McBoatface.