As has been recently documented by the Inquisitr, the U.K.’s Sir David Attenborough now officially has a new namesake.
In spite of the public’s apparent clamoring for “Boaty McBoatface” as the name for the British polar research vessel, the famed British broadcaster will instead officially serve as the inspiration for the previously unnamed ship.
And, per CNN and a number of other news sources, Attenborough could not be happier with the decision.
Despite actually coming in fourth place in the poll for the boat’s name, the 90-year-old Attenborough said that he was “truly honored” by the decision to name the £200m ship after him and expressed optimism that U.K. citizens would feel inspired by the ship’s progress in exploring the poles.
“I have been privileged to explore the world’s deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers,” smiled Attenborough. “With this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before.”
U.K. Science Minister Jo Johnson, meanwhile, told CNN that the name was “more suitable” than its suggested counterpart.
“The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names,” said Johnson of the Attenborough selection. “While it was a difficult decision I’m delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation’s most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists.”
According to experts, the RSS David Attenborough will focus on preserving polar marine environments, and could even place the U.K. at the center of this effort.
Labelled by CNN as the “most advanced polar research ship in the world,” the RSS David Attenborough will focus on investigating the world’s oceans in many different ways to help address climate change. It will also allow researchers to stay at sea and continue studying their surrounding environments for much longer periods of time, including into the previously more prohibitive winter months.
In recognition of the poll’s massively popular alternative choice, the RSS Attenborough will also include a dispatchable “Boaty” submarine to allow the ship’s crew to further collect samples from the deeper portions of the Arctic and Antarctic waters.
“[The RSS David Attenborough] will be at the forefront of polar science,” added Jane Francis, the director of the British Antarctic Survey to CNN, noting that the Attenborough-named vessel will help to “deliver world-leading capability for UK research in both Antarctica and the Arctic.”
Coincidentally, Francis also endorsed the decision to name the ship after David Attenborough, calling him “an important figure who has engaged and inspired the public over generations with his passion for the natural world.”
Coincidentally, the inventor of the “Boaty McBoatface” moniker James Hand, who serves as Communications Manager for the U.K.’s The Independent Association of Prep Schools, was completely at peace with the decision to instead name the ship after David Attenborough.
“[The] RSS 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,” said Hand in a statement before noting, “That being said, I’m really pleased to hear Boaty McBoatface will live on. The name appeals to the child in us: that’s one of the reasons it’s been so popular… I never expected Boaty to become as popular as it has, and I’m glad [the Natural Environment Research Council] have chosen to harness some of that interest. I’m looking forward to following the work of both the RRS David Attenborough and of course Boaty McBoatface.”
The keel of the RSS David Attenborough is now in construction in Merseyside, CNN noted, and its keel will be laid in October of this year. It is scheduled to hit the seas sometime in 2019.
[Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images]