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Boaty McBoatface: Officials announce the ship will be called RRS Sir David Attenborough ()

The research ship the internet voted to be called Boaty McBoatface will be named after David Attenborough, a government minister has said.

Jo Johnson, the minister for science and technology, has said the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) boat will be called RRS Sir David Attenborough, "in tribute to a great broadcaster & natural scientist".

The decision comes ahead of the broadcaster's 90 birthday on May 8. The Evening Standard report Attenborough is "delighted" to have the ship named after him.

While the vessel hasn't been named after the internet's choice the name hasn't gone completely to waste. Boaty McBoatface will, instead, be written on the side of a remotely operated undersea vehicle that goes with the ship.

When voting closed in NERC's competition to name the boat RRS Boaty McBoatface was the firm winner with more than 124,000 votes.

However, it isn't a surprise that the name wasn't selected. The poll, as has been made clear from the start, was never going to be the only factor in deciding what it was called.

The original criteria for the name indicated that it should "be inspirational and about environmental and polar science, to help us tell everyone about the amazing work the ship does."

As the official name has been announced MPs have said they will debate whether the whole saga has been useful or not. A hearing next week into science communication will see whether the NERC's engagement strategy has been successful.

"Was it a triumph of public engagement or a PR disaster?," said science and technology committee chair Nicola Blackwood.

"We’ll also want to know how NERC intends to build on the mass coverage they’ve attracted and engage people with the vital polar science that Boaty will be enabling.”

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