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Royal Caribbean Boaty McBoatface 2

Royal Caribbean's newest and biggest ship yet, Harmony of the Seas, is imagined as Boaty McBoatface of the Seas. The cruise line has invited UK-based James Hand, the wordsmith behind the creative Boaty McBoatface name to sail on Harmony when she launches in Southampton, UK this May. In return, Hand will share his best suggestions to help name a future Royal Caribbean ship. (PRNewsFoto/Royal Caribbean International)

LONDON — Boaty McBoatface may be sunk.

Britain's science minister has indicated that the country's newest polar research vessel is unlikely to be christened with the name, which topped an online poll.

The Natural Environment Research Council had asked for help finding a name reflecting the 200 million-pound ($284 million) ship's mission and celebrating British naval history.

The jokey suggestion Boaty McBoatface got 124,109 votes, more than three times its nearest rival.

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The vote was advisory. Science Minister Jo Johnson said Monday that "imaginative" suggestions would all be reviewed. But he said the vessel's name should capture "the spirit of scientific endeavor."

Former BBC radio host James Hand, who proposed Boaty McBoatface, has apologized for the furor. Hand says he actually voted to name the ship after naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough.

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