Britain’s new polar research ship could end up being called Boaty McBoatface, with the joke name leading a public vote by several nautical miles on Monday.
Former BBC radio presenter James Hand, who came up with the name, said 90 percent of the thousands of entries were daft — so he thought he would throw in one of his own.
He suggested the name to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) on Thursday last week, since when the Royal Research Ship (RRS) Boaty McBoatface name has sailed way ahead of the competition.
Before the voting Web site crashed under the weight of people trying to have their say, Hand’s suggestion was leading with 28,590 votes, far ahead of its closest competitor, which had a little more 3,000 votes.
‘I LIKE BIG BOATS’
Some of the more unusual suggestions include the RRS Onion Knight, RRS Pingu, RRS Usain Boat, RRS I Like Big Boats And I Cannot Lie and RRS Kanye West.
The ￡200 million (US$290 million) state-of-the-art polar research ship, which is to be 128m long and weigh 15,000 tonnes, is set to sail in 2019.
“Operating in one of the world’s most challenging global environments — our polar regions — we’re looking for an inspirational name that exemplifies the work it will do,” the NERC said when it launched the naming competition.
The final decision on the new name is to be taken by the NERC.
NERC director of corporate affairs Alison Robinson said the council was “delighted” by the public’s enthusiasm and “pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”
“We are very much enjoying hearing everyone’s ideas,” she said.
Alan West, a former head of Britain’s navy, said: “It’s a typical thing of the Brits going mad.”
“This is a key bit of research where we are probably leading the world and we should all be very proud of it,” West told BBC radio. “I’m rather proud that we have silly names going around — but I hope we don’t select one.”
Hand said he had “apologized profusely” and had actually voted for RRS David Attenborough, after the veteran television naturalist.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications