A man who suggested naming a new £200 million ship Boaty McBoatface has apologised.
The suggestion has attracted more than 8,000 votes in an online poll of names for the Royal Research ship, causing the website to crash.
Former BBC presenter James Hand said he found the list of possible names “really funny” so decided to “throw one into the ring”.
He “apologised profusely” to the Natural Environment Research Council.
There is no guarantee the ship will be given the name that tops the poll, with the final decision to be made by the chief executive of the NERC.
Other names in the running are RRS Pingu, RRS Usain Bolt and RRS David Attenborough.
Mr Hand said: “I read the story about naming the ship on the BBC website on Thursday and some of the entries were really funny – my favourite was Clifford The Big Red Boat.
“I thought I would throw one into the ring. By Friday night it was leading by a couple of thousand, and when the site crashed on Sunday it was leading by 8,000. It’s been utterly bizarre.”
The boat is due to be built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead on Merseyside and when completed in 2019 it will study ice sheets, ocean currents and marine life as part of the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey.
“I’ve apologised profusely to the people behind the website,” the former Good Morning Jersey host said. “It was actually nothing to do with me. It was my suggestion but the storm that has been created has legs of its own.
“I suggested this for the Condor Liberation when they had a poll, I bet they’re kicking themselves now.
He added: “It’s all really good fun, but it’s so surreal.”
Source:: BBC world news feed