LONDON — British officials were branded spoilsports Friday after refusing to name a polar research ship "Boaty McBoatface."
The public was asked last month to submit suggestions about what to call the state-of-the-art vessel and vote for their favorite using an online poll.
However — the Internet being the Internet — the runaway winner was not the name of a famous explorer or scientist as organizers had hoped, but "RRS Boaty McBoatface," which received more than 124,000 votes.
But the voice of the people was not heard.
On Friday, the U.K.'s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced it was reserving its right to override the poll, choosing instead to christen the vessel "RRS Sir David Attenborough," after the much-loved British naturalist and broadcaster who turns 90 on Sunday.
The government said the name was "one of the top suggestions" — but conceded it only received 11,000 votes. The decision was made by British Science Minister Jo Johnson, the younger brother of outgoing London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Attenborough said he was "truly honored by this naming decision and hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship's progress as it explores our polar regions."
Officials did make a concession to the elected winner, however, using Boaty McBoatface as the name for one of the $290 million ship's high-tech underwater drones.
But many people felt that wasn't enough.
"I thought we lived in a democracy?!" said Twitter user Molly Owens.
"What's the point of having a vote to name the ship and not using the winning name ... #BoatyMcBoatface," added James P-B, also posting on the platform.
Others were more sympathetic.
"I'm torn! It's against the democratic process but #Attenborough is my personal hero," a Twitter user called Gemma M said.
The 419-foot ship will be one-and-a-half times the weight of Paris' Eiffel Tower and is scheduled for completion in 2019.