Sydney’s latest harbour boat has been christened Ferry McFerryface, a decision which has caused outrage among staff with many refusing to work on the boat.
The Australian public had been asked to help name six new Sydney ferries, and although Ferry McFerryface lost out to ‘Boaty McBoatface’, this had already been picked in Britain for a polar research ship last year.
But Ferry McFerryface risks being left stranded, after its name angered union workers, who say it makes a mockery of public transport.
Controversial: FerryMcFerryface was one of the winning names in a competition to name six new ferries in Sydney harbour
The New South Wales government received more than 15,000 suggestions for six cross harbour vessels in a ferry-naming competition.
While five of the vessels will receive names honouring respected local figures, including the late doctors Victor Chang and Fred Hollows, and gynaecologist Catherine Hamlin, the sixth is less traditional.
Next most popular was ‘Boaty McBoatface’, followed by ‘Ferry McFerryface’, the government said.
Australian authorities said they planned to comply with the public vote, albeit passing on Boaty as the first choice, given the lack of originality.
Anger: The new moniker has upset ferry staff, who are refusing to work on the vessel as it treats their job ‘as a joke’
‘We asked Sydney to name their new ferries, and we have listened. Ferry McFerryface will be the harbour’s newest icon, and I hope it brings a smile to the faces of visitors and locals alike,’ NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.
‘Given Boaty was already taken by another vessel, we’ve gone with the next most popular name nominated by Sydneysiders.’
But the country’s Maritime Union, whose members staff the ferry fleet, failed to see the funny side.
Paul Garrett, a spokesman for the union, said workers were frustrated by the decision, noting that ferries have traditionally been named after Sydney’s beaches and successful Olympians.
New boaty: The christening followed a competition to name six new Sydney ferries
‘The Transport Minister is demonstrating here that he treats public transport as a joke.’
‘We’re wondering why Sydney Harbour has to suffer a second-hand joke from the UK,’ he said.
He added that staff would refuse to work on the ship.
The ferries, which will ply the harbours around Sydney, will carry up to 400 passengers.
Despite a public vote in favour of ‘Boaty McBoatface’, the British government last year chose instead to name the new polar research ship ‘Sir David Attenborough’.
The ship’s yellow marine submarine was given the joke name instead.
Ferry McFerryface joins the ranks of Trainy McTrainface, a Swedish express train, and Horsey McHorseface, a Sydney racehorse, after a trend started by a suggestion from a former BBC radio host.
Horsey McHorseface has its own Twitter account and has also become a cult hit, after breaking through for his first win in Sydney in June.