Boaty McBoatface dream is sunk: New polar research ship to be named RRS Sir David Attenborough

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson explains the government's decision to name the vessel after Sir David Attenborough.

"Boaty McBoatface" was by far the most popular choice in a competition to name a new polar research ship, but the government has confirmed it has rejected the moniker.

Instead, the £200 million vessel will be named RRS Sir David Attenborough, in honour of the veteran naturalist and broadcaster, days before his 90th birthday.

Attenborough said he is "truly honoured" by the decision.

Some 124,109 votes were cast to name the vessel Boaty McBoatface in the competition launched by the Natural Environment Research Council.

The name gained traction when the #NameOurShip campaign was launched in March on social media.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson, who had final say over the name, confirmed the "difficult" decision today.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson had final say over the name of the vessel Credit: PA

Those attached to "Boaty" can take consolation from the name living on through a yellow submarine.

The name will adorn a remote-control sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew.

Boaty McBoatface was first suggested by former BBC radio presenter James Hand, who has since apologised and said the storm it created had "legs of its own."

He said that while he stands by Boaty McBoatface as a "brilliant name" for a boat, he actually voted for RRS David Attenborough to be the new name.

The ship, which is being built in Merseyside, will set sail in 2019.