Online campaign to name UK polar research vessel, Boaty McBoatface, goes viral

A UK research vessel bound for the polar regions could be named Boaty McBoatface in an embarrassing online vote created by its state-run owners, the National Environment Research Council (NERC).

The council had asked the British public to vote for the name of its latest Royal Research Ship, which is under construction at Cammell Laird shipyard. Many names of great explorers and scientists poured forth such as David Attenborough. However, when someone put forward the name Boaty McBoatface it kicked off a massive online campaign, which saw so many votes that NERC’s website actually crashed over the weekend. Boaty McBoatface is now more than 13,000 votes ahead of the second placed name.

The $300m ship is set to launch in 2019 and will carry 90 scientists.

Despite the online poll, the small print carried on the voting page states that the final decision of the name will be chosen by the chief executive of NERC.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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