Thursday 5 May 2016 2:45 pm

Trouble on the high seas as The Science and Technology Committee launches an inquiry into the "Boaty McBoatface" online poll

It is curtains for Boaty McBoatface?

The Science and Technology Committee doesn't seem happy with the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) online poll which saw 120,000 Brits vote to name a new research vessel Boaty McBoatface.

NERC's Name Our Ship competition saw hundreds of thousands of votes cast to name a new polar research vessel, and Brits are waiting with baited to find out whether the most popular entry will be used.


Naval enthusiasts were left dismayed after the NERC's spokespeople reminded us that, despite Boaty McBoatface getting more than 120,000 votes, the final decision lies with science minister Jo Johnson, who has hinted he will choose a different name for the £200m vessel.

Read more: Trainy McTrainface spotted in Waterloo station

But now it looks like the NERC is being held to account. The Science and Technology Committee has announced it will meet for the first time to discuss the fate of the research vessel and is asking the research council's chief exec to give evidence in a select committee hearing. 

NERC chief Professor Duncan Wingham and communications head Julia Maddock will discuss the matter in with killjoys from the committee in Parliament next week.

The outlook doesn't look good. An online statement from the Commons Select Committee says the research council is "holding an inquiry into science communication, and explores the Name Our Ship competition and NERC's broader public engagement strategy in this context."

Read more: Don't let Boaty McBoatface put you off crowdsourcing

Other suggestions for the ship's name include Endeavour, Henry Worsley and David Attenborough, along with more serious ones like "It’s Bloody Cold Here", "Usain Boat" and "What Iceberg?".

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