Boaty McBoatface is leading the vote count after U.K. officials asked people across the Internet to name a new vessel for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
One day after launching the poll, RRS Boaty McBoatface received more than 18,000 votes, followed by a suggestion to name the boat after British explorer Henry Worsley, who died in January while attempting to cross the Antarctic unaided.
The polar research vessel will head to Antarctica in 2019, The Guardian reported
NERC solicited the name ideas as suggestions and hasn’t said whether Boaty McBoatface stands a chance of being adopted as the name of the $288 million ship.
“We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched,” NERC’s Alison Robinson said. “Many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists. Others are more unusual but we’re pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”
In a statement announcing the naming contest, Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "Can you imagine one of the world's biggest research labs travelling to the Antarctic with your suggested name proudly emblazoned on the side? The polar research ship represents a leap forward in securing Britain's place as a world leader in marine and climate change science — and illustrates this government's commitment to invest in research facilities on a record scale."
That thought is what may have made James Hand, who suggested the name, feel a bit squeamish.
"I've actually been speaking a bit to the people behind the website. I've apologized profusely,” the former BBC Radio Jersey presenter said, according to the BBC
. "What I keep saying to people is, this is actually nothing to do with me. I made the suggestion but the storm that's been created, it's got legs of its own.”
He apologized for the name on Twitter, with kind responses from NERC spokeswoman Julia Maddock.
Nonetheless, Hand told the BBC he still hopes his name suggestion will be chosen.
Mixed reactions to the name flooded Twitter.
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