The new British polar research ship, which the public famously voted to be named ‘Boaty McBoatface’, has instead been named in honour of Sir David Attenborough.

The decision was revealed by the Conservative science minister Jo Johnson on Friday morning (May 6th) – which many on social media protested was a flagrant and disregard of democratic principles – which he described as a “tribute to a great broadcaster & natural scientist”.

David AttenboroughThe 'Boaty McBoatface' research vessel is being named after Sir David Attenborough instead

However, the name ‘Boaty McBoatface’ will at least live on, as it will be the name of the remotely-operated submarine that will allow the research crew to collect samples from the Arctic and Antarctic.

The RSS Sir David Attenborough is currently being built on shipyards in Merseyside, and it will provide the UK with the most advanced sea-going research fleet in the world when it sets sail in 2019. It will examine issues of climate change by researching the state of the world’s oceans.

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In what will be forever held up as an example of political miscalculation, a public vote on suggestions for the name of the ship attracted 124,000 votes for ‘Boaty McBoatface’, by far and away the most popular idea.

However, Johnson said last month that it would not be suitable, and instead chose the venerable Sir David Attenborough (which attracted 11,000 votes) as the ship’s name, just days before the broadcaster’s 90th birthday.

In a full statement, Johnson said: “The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I’m delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation’s most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists. This vessel will carry the Attenborough name for decades to come, as it fulfils its mission to explore the oceans and put Britain at the forefront of efforts to preserve our precious marine environment.”

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