Boaty McBoatface instigator 'sorry' for ship name suggestion

  • Published
boatImage source, NERC

A man who suggested naming a new £200m ship Boaty McBoatface has apologised.

The suggestion has attracted more than 27,000 votes in an online poll of names for the Royal Research ship, causing the website to crash.

Former BBC presenter James Hand said he found the list of possible names "really funny" so decided to "throw one into the ring".

He "apologised profusely" to the Natural Environment Research Council.

There is no guarantee the ship will be given the name that tops the poll, with the final decision to be made by the chief executive of the NERC.

Other names in the running are RRS Pingu, RRS Usain Boat and RRS David Attenborough.

A NERC spokesperson said staff were "very much enjoying hearing everyone's ideas".

'So surreal'

Mr Hand said: "I read the story about naming the ship on the BBC website on Thursday and some of the entries were really funny - my favourite was Clifford The Big Red Boat.

"I thought I would throw one into the ring. By Friday night it was leading by a couple of thousand, and when the site crashed on Sunday it was leading by 8,000. It's been utterly bizarre."

Boaty McBoatface is 25,000 votes ahead of the second place suggestion, RRS Henry Worsley.

Image source, NERC
Image caption,
The Name Our Ship website crashed on Sunday

The boat is being built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead on Merseyside and when completed in 2019 it will study ice sheets, ocean currents and marine life as part of the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey.

"I've apologised profusely to the people behind the website," the former Good Morning Jersey host said.

"It was actually nothing to do with me. It was my suggestion but the storm that has been created has legs of its own.

"I suggested this for the Condor Liberation when they had a poll, I bet they're kicking themselves now."

Mr Hand, who presented Good Morning Jersey from July 2013 to September 2015, added: "It's all really good fun, but it's so surreal."

Image source, Twitter
Image source, Twitter

Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he was "proud that we have silly names going around" but hoped that none of them were actually selected.

Alison Robinson, director of corporate affairs at the NERC, which based in Swindon, said: "We've had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship's scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists.

"We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun."

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