It wasn’t meant to end this way.
A British state-of-the-art polar research ship could be called Boaty McBoatface after more than 27,000 people voted for the name online, crashing the website that hosted the naming competition,
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) launched the website – Name Our Ship – and with the best of intentions.
“This campaign will give everyone across the UK the opportunity to feel part of this exciting project and the untold discoveries it will unearth,” said UK science minister Jo Johnson.
It was a sentiment shared by NERC’s chief executive Duncan Wingham.
“We are excited to hear what the public have to suggest and we really are open to ideas.”
But James Hand, who suggested Boaty McBoatface, described it as “an absolutely brilliant name”, though the operators of the boat may have been hoping for something more serious.
Other ideas include RRS (Royal Research Ship) David Attenborough, RRS Usain Bolt, RRS Boat, RRS Pingu and RRS It’s Bloody Cold Here.
The nomination RRS Henry Worsley, after the explorer who died trying to make the first unassisted solo crossing of the Antarctic in January, is currently the second most popular with around 2400 votes.
The STG200 million ($A379 million) vessel will set off for Antarctica in 2019.
Although Mr Hand stood by his “brilliant” name, The New York Times reported that he voted for R.R.S. David Attenborough.
He has also apologised for the “storm” it has created.
“I’ve actually been speaking a bit to the people behind the website. I’ve apologised profusely,” he told 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.
“I just feel it’s a very British thing, which a lot of people have pointed out.”
Once completed the ship, funded by the British government and under construction at Cammell Laird shipyard, Merseyside, will be deployed on research missions to the Arctic and Antarctic and be able to spend up to 60 days at sea.
The NERC asks for the names suggested to be inspirational, such as a historical figure, landmark or movement.