Sad news: Boaty McBoatface has a name and it's not Boaty McBoatface

 
Emma Haslett
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Say hello to the real Boaty McBoatface, aka Subby McSubface (Source: BIS)

Alas, alack: Boaty McBoatface is no longer. Well, sort of.

After many hours of fevered hand-wringing, not to mention the launch of a government inquiry, science minister Jo Johnson (and, of course, Boris Johnson's brother) has turned his nose up at the result of Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) much-maligned "Name Our Ship" vote.

Today he confirmed his decision to name the organisation's new vessel something rather less interesting: RRS Sir David Attenborough - rather than opting for the landslide winner of the public vote, Boaty McBoatface.

In other words: Bojo's bro Jo has said no to Bo(-aty McBoatface). Uh-oh.

But there was a small sop to Boaty McBoatface enthusiasts: one of the ship's remotely operated underwater vehicles will be given that name (although to be fair, it's less a boat and more a sub. Subby McSubface, you might say).

Despite the intervention by Johnson, NERC bosses should be afraid. Yesterday the Science and Technology Committee put out a statement saying it will "hold an inquiry into science communication, and explore the Name Our Ship competition and NERC's broader public engagement strategy in this context".

Once it sets sail in 2019, the £200m ship will carry 90 scientists and additional staff on exploratory voyages through the Arctic and Antarctic.

NERC has said that tonne-for-tonne, the ship will provide the UK with the "most advanced floating research fleet in the world", putting the UK at the "forefront of ocean research for years to come".

And while thousands of Boaty McBoatface fans may be disappointed, at least one person was happy: Sir David Attenborough said he felt "truly honoured".

"I hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship’s progress as it explores our polar regions. I have been privileged to explore the world’s deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before.”

Still - NERC's reluctance to apply the result didn't prevent South West Trains from having a go at its own version of the name. In March, commuters were amused to witness a train named "Trainy McTrainface" rolling into Waterloo....

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