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Could Boaty McBoatface be new name of Navy's newest ship?

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

A new £200m Navy 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 new ship will replace HMS Endurance, which is based in Portsmouth.

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".

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.

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

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