Once upon a time – 2016 to be precise – there was an online competition to name a British polar research ship.
To the horror of many, “Boaty McBoatface” was the winner of said competition.
Thankfully, last week the the 129-metre, hi-tech ship ship was officially named the RRS Sir David Attenborough at a royal ceremony in Birkenhead, near Liverpool.
As the ship’s sponsor, the Duchess of Cambridge formally christened the boat by pressing a button and unleashing a bottle champagne that smashed against the hull.
The Duke of Cambridge recognised the extraordinary work of Sir David, who was in attendance, and made reference to the boat’s almost-name.
“There is no person more fitting for this beacon of scientific research to be named after than you, David.
“It is my immense privilege and relief to welcome Sir David Attenborough, rather than Boaty McBoatface.”
One of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world, the RRS Sir David Attenborough was commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Upon entering full service in October 2020, it will help scientists to conduct vital research in the polar regions and enable a greater understanding of the planet’s oceans, marine life and climate system.
As a nod to the almost name of the magnificent vessel, it has on board a miniature robotic submarine named “Boaty McBoatface”.