Sorry Internet. What was perhaps the most-tweeted potential boat name in recent history is no more. Despite a landslide victory in Britain's Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) "Name Our Ship" contest, officials announced their soon-to-be launched, polar research vessel will not bare the winning name, Boaty McBoatface.
In fact, according to a release sent out via the organizations website, none of the top three names made the final selection. When launched in 2019, the state-of-the-art polar research vessel will be named after the fourth place selection, famed British broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough.
"The NERC Name Our Ship campaign has engaged the public with the ship's mission on a huge scale and we are very grateful for the support and enthusiasm shown by the public in contributing to naming for our new research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough," said ERC Chief Executive Duncan Wingham in a press release.
However, all is not lost for Boaty. In order to save face for snubbing the ever popular name, Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson announced that the name would be applied to one of the automated submersibles permanently aboard the Attenborough.
"The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we're ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew, and the polar science education program that will bring their work to life," Johnson said.
In typical internet fashion, social media is already suggesting the NERC instead name the deep-sea robot "Subby McSubface."
Once launched, the Attenborough will serve as the flagship of Britain's scientific fleet for decades to come, and will provide the UK with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world. The build contract for the Attenborough supports well over 400 jobs in the UK and will run a total bill of nearly £200-million ($288-plus-million at press time).
"I am truly honored by this naming decision and hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship's progress as it explores our polar regions," said David Attenborough, the vessel's namesake at hearing the news. "I have been privileged to explore the world's deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before."
James Hand, the man responsible for submitting "Boaty McBoatface" into the contest took to twitter yesterday to express his agreement with the NERC's decision.
"RRS David Attenborough is a fitting and excellent choice. As I said at the time, it's the name I voted for, from a sea of worthy contenders," Hand wrote on twitter. "The being said, I am really pleased to hear Boaty McBoatface will live on. The name appeals to the child in us: That's one of the reasons it has been so popular."