Britain’s new polar research ship Boaty McBoatface RRS Sir David Attenborough is ready to go into the water today. The newly assembled hull of the ship is now standing on the slipway at Cammell Laird’s shipyard here in Birkenhead, awaiting its launch at lunch time. Weather and tide permitting, the £200m vessel should slide gracefully into the River Mersey at around noon. Although the ship has been named after Sir David Attenborough – who we love and admire – to us here at Jammy Toast she will always be “Boaty McBoatface” which was going to be her name following an online poll. Then ministers stepped in to choose what they referred to as “a more appropriate name”. However, on a serious note, she represents the largest commercial ship built in Britain for three decades.
Here at Jammy Toast we were disgusted when the new polar research vessel was not named Boaty McBoatface. Now the yellow submarine that was given the name in its place is set to leave for Antarctica this week on its first science expedition. The robot is going to map the movement of deep waters that play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate. Boaty carries the name that a public poll had suggested be given to the UK’s future £200m polar research vessel. The government felt this would be inappropriate and directed the humorous moniker go on a submersible instead.
Sir David Attenborough visited Birkenhead yesterday to officially lay the keel of the research ship which was almost called Boaty McBoatface. The 90-year-old TV naturalist lifted a 100-tonne piece of hull into place by crane to begin work on the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Science minister Jo Johnson pushed to name the ship for beloved Sir David after blocking an online “Name our ship” poll that chose “Boaty McBoatface” by a landslide. The Tory MP, Boris Johnson’s brother, was accused of thwarting the will of the people after the Boaty name gained 124,000 votes.
It started out as a simple PR exercise to name the new UK polar research vessel but it unleashed a joke that has since gone viral. Now there’s a backlash involving a British national treasure. A website inviting the British public to name the £200m ship had attracted huge interest, with Boaty McBoatface becoming the runaway favourite. However, it has now been announced that the vessel will be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough, after the veteran British naturalist, even though the runaway winner in the public competition to name it had been “Boaty McBoatface”. This has sparked outrage, of sorts, on social media.
If you remember back in March, Flat Eric told us the story that the people of the internet had voted to name the new polar research ship “Boaty McBoatface”. Now when we read the story, we just knew in our heart-of-hearts that someone was going to come along and ruin it. Someone wasn’t going to see the funny side and would stomp all over the idea. So it may come as no surprise, that now a group of self-appointed busy-body MPs are to review the process that has been used to find the name. Members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee want to discuss whether the public engagement project around the search for a name has been a success or a failure.
Cammell Laird are currently in the process of building a new polar research vessel and have asked members of the public to choose a name for the ship. Unfortunately, the public have overwhelmingly decided to call it Boaty McBoatface. This is proving that popular that it is currently leading with 27,000 votes. Spoilsport Lord West, ex-First Sea Lord, said he was rather proud “silly names” had been suggested but hoped none were chosen and would form a panel of experts, even if the public overwhelmingly votes to call it Boaty McBoatface.