Work has begun on the UK’s new US$245 million Arctic research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, formerly known as Boaty McBoatface in a widely shared internet meme.
Duncan Wingham, CEO of NERC said: “The RRS Sir David Attenborough will be one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world and will help ensure world-class polar and deep ocean science in the decades to come,
“Today’s keel laying ceremony marks the start of an exciting construction process here at Cammell Laird, which will make new science possible from 2019. While it might seem remote to the UK, it is vital to understand the polar region as one of the first places where we see the impact of global environmental changes.”
Sir David Attenborough was invited to Birkenhead on Monday October 17, to lay the first block of the keel and officially begin construction.
Commissioned by the UK’s scientific research agency NERC, it had originally asked for members of the public to help name the vessel, with the name Boaty McBoatface submitted by one mischievous internet user becoming an instant hit.
As news spread of the suggested name, more people voted and it eventually won the online poll by a landslide. However, NERC eventually chose the name RRS Sir David Attenborough as a tribute the world-renowned broadcaster and naturalist.
However, the name Boaty McBoatface has not completely disappeared, with NERC deciding to name the ship’s onboard ROV after the winning entry.