The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is inviting a “Boaty McBoatface” moment by inviting the public to name a new ship.
This time last year, Britain’s National Environmental Research Council put the naming of a new craft out to public vote.
“Boaty McBoatface” ended up as the clear winner with 124,109 votes, four times more than RRS Poppy-Mai – named after a 16-month-old girl with incurable cancer – which limped home in second place.
Despite the overwhelming public support for the silly name, the ship was eventually named the RSS David Attenborough, after the much-loved television naturalist.
However, as a concession to the will of the people, one of the vessel’s submersible drones was landed with the Boaty McBoatface moniker.
Now, the PRC is risking a similar showdown as it asks the public to name its new 195ft ambulance and disaster response ship.
Until April 15, is putting the naming of the ship out the netizens of the Philippines.
However, the humanitarian organisation is playing a smart game — to suggest a name, silly or otherwise, you must first sign up as a Red Cross volunteer.
The ship was formerly known as the M/V Susitna, and was purchased from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in Alaska.
Capable of operating both as cargo-loaded barge that can haul itself onto shore and a twin-hulled vessel that cuts through choppy seas, M/V Susitna will be the country’s first humanitarian ship and disaster response vessel.
The PRC plans to use the ship as rapid transport and landing vessel for emergency units. It will also serve as relief supply transport ship, medical facility deployment ship, sea rescue and mass evacuation vessel, humanitarian logistics ship, mobile operations command post and humanitarian education and training ship.
The ship can hold up to 120 passengers, 20 vehicles and has a 35-ton overall freight capacity. Its main deck can be lowered to offload equipment and land on beaches in as little as four feet of water.
Without cargo, the ship is capable of evacuating a thousand people. Without that many people, the ship can carry trucks, ambulances, and relief goods to people affected by disasters in one relief mission.
PRC chairman Richard Gordon said: “The ship is the realisation of our vision to establish the Philippine Red Cross as the foremost humanitarian organisation in the country, capable of delivering timely humanitarian services that save lives and restore the dignity of the most vulnerable.”
To help name the ship, visit the PRC’s Facebook page (phredcross) and follow the links.