A polar research ship that the British public wanted to call “Boaty McBoatface” launched Saturday.
Instead, the $2.65 million vessel was named RRS Sir David Attenborough, a British broadcaster who pushed the button to launch the ship, the BBC reported.
“To see this magnificent hull with my name on it is the greatest possible honour,” Attenborough said, according to a British Antarctic Survey tweet.
Attenborough, 92, is a brother of the late filmmaker Richard Attenborough, director of "Gandhi," "Jurassic Park," and many other films, who died in 2014.
Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey, talked about why the ship was named for David Attenborough.
“This is a serious science ship that required the name of a serious scientist,” Francis said, according to the Guardian. “Its name recognises all the love and esteem the British public holds for Sir David Attenborough.”
“This is a serious science ship that required the name of a serious scientist. Its name recognizes all the love and esteem the British public holds for Sir David Attenborough.”
But Francis did acknowledge that the “furor around the name,” which was originally chosen in a public poll, helped generate interest in the ship, the report said.
“It’s given our mission a more human face,” she said.
A human face quite literally, as the red vessel launched with black rectangles looking like eyes with a white smile on the bottom.
As for the comedic name, a yellow submarine on board the research ship will carry the “Boaty” moniker.
The vessel's research will include the ocean’s salinity, ice-covered water, currents and other polar elements, the Guardian reported.
“Where the water is flowing is really important,” said Francis. “What happens in the polar region has an impact on the whole of the planet.”
Attenborough echoed the same sentiments.
“(T)hat remote place (South Pole) is, in fact, key to the whole understanding of the planet. What goes on down there affects the whole of the Earth," Attenborough said, according to the BBC.