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Boaty McBoatface leads poll to find name for new ship

Thousands of people have voted in the online poll to name the new ship. Credit: NERC

A new £200 million ship could be named Boaty McBoatface after an online poll was run to find a name for the vessel.

The Natural Environment Research Council decided to launch a campaign to let the public decide what its latest polar research ship should be called.

The #NameOurShip campaign was launched on Thursday 17 March and thousands of people have already offered their suggestions.

RRS Boaty McBoatface is currently holding the top spot - well ahead of the other contenders.

It was suggested by communications manager James Hand, who on the website says he chose it because "It's an absolutely brilliant name" but has since said he will not be backing the name he put forward.

He told BBC Radio Jersey that he "apologised profusely" and said he had voted for RSS David Attenborough to be the new name.

The storm that's been created - it's got legs of its own.

– James Hand

The name now has its own Twitter handle - @BoatyMcBoatface - although it was not set up by Mr Hand.

Many people took to social media to show their support for the suggested name.

In second place is RRS Henry Worsley, a tribute to the famous explorer who recently died attempting a solo crossing in the Arctic.

Among the many suggestions posted on the website are: RRS Captain Haddock, RRS Don't Panic and Stay cool and RRS The Ice Queen.

Thousands have voters have made suggestions for the ship's new name. Credit: NERC

The boat - which is yet to be built - will cost around £200 million and weigh 15,000 tonnes.

It will be built at Cammell Laird shipyard on Merseyside and is due to make its first voyage in 2019.

The head of the NERC said that the new ship will be designed to be "world class".

NERC's new ship will help put the UK at the cutting edge of polar research, as part of this extensive polar programme with £200m investment from the government.

– Duncan Wingham, NERC's chief executive

NERC said the ship is currently being called 'NPRV', which it admits "isn't very catchy".

People wanting to put forward suggestions can give as many names as they wish on the NERC website, with a short explanation about why they think the name would be suitable.