Spanish admiral vetoed in favour of Boaty MacBoatface

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
Spanish admiral vetoed in favour of Boaty MacBoatface
Screenshot from NERC

A proposal by a British government agency to let the Internet come up with a name for its newest polar research ship has massively backfired.


Spanish trolls leapt on the Natural Environment Research Council's  (NERC) call to come up with a creative suggestion to name thestate-of-the-art Royal Research vessel with a chance to reap revenge for the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Some smart alec – a Spaniard named Joaqui Andreu - suggested the ship be named after, Blas de Lezo, one of Spain’s most legendary seafarers.

For those whose naval history is a bit rusty he was the admiral best remembered for the 1741 Battle of Cartagena de Indias in modern-day Colombia, where he led Spanish Imperial forces to resist a siege by a British invasion fleet, sinking dozens of British warships.

To add further insult to injury the admiral was nicknamed Mediohombre - halfman -  for being lame, one-armed, one-eyed.

The entry was removed on Tuesday morning Screenshot: NERC

The entry was posted on social media with a call for Spaniards to get their own back for England's defeat of the Armada.

But after collecting more than 38,000 votes, the entry to name the ship RRS Blas de Lezo, in recognitition of a sailor who "made great contribution to British undersea research" was pulled from the list of NERC entries.

A NERC spokeswoman told The Local that the decision to veto the Blas de Lezo entry had been taken on Tuesday morning.

"We will remove or reject any name suggestion that we deem liable to cause offense," she said, although she couldn’t clarify under what criteria the entry was deemed offensive.

Admiral Blas de Lezo. Portrait from Spain's Naval Museum

In fact the Spanish entry was in second place after Boaty McBoatface, a suggestion by British joker James Hand, that is currently leading the poll.

The exercise has proved rather embarrassing for the NERC which launched the competition in the expectation that only marine research fans were likely to get involved.

However, the competition has made headlines thanks to the ludicrous suggestions that have been put forward.

The names 'Pingu', 'Usain Boat' and 'It's Bloody Cold Here' are also contenders in the poll that closes on April 16th.



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