A CAMPAIGN has been launched to christen the ship at the centre of the Boaty McBoatface naming saga after a climate change expert who was knocked off her bike and killed.

Nikki Giles wants the new Antarctic explorer ship named after her sister, Dr Katharine Giles, who was killed by a truck in London in 2013 aged 35.

The campaign comes after the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked the public to suggest names for a £200-million ship, due to set sail for Antarctica in 2019.

Someone suggested the name Boaty McBoatface which has now attracted 110,000 votes making it the front runner.

Miss Giles, who lives in Brunswick Terrace, Hove, has launched a campaign to name the ship RRS Katharine Giles.

She said: "I'm not against Boaty McBoatface, and think it's quite funny, but when it comes to the actual name I would much prefer to see my sister's on there because it would be fitting.

"We've had a good response so far, almost 3,000 votes, but that is a long way to go to rival Boaty McBoatface."

The 36-year-old former University of Sussex student, said: “She dedicated her life to scientific research in the polar regions, regularly travelling as a key member of a pioneering team that used satellite data to measure the thickness of sea ice and the height of the sea surface.

"Katharine was committed to communicating science to the public and young people in particular. She had a popular website and blogs of her Arctic and Antarctic missions.

"It would be a brilliant legacy to her work if the ship went out with her name on it.

"The response so far has been amazing. We've had messages of support from so many friends and others around the world."

Alison Robinson, NERC’s director of corporate affairs, said: “We’re delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity people have shown.

"We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists.

"We have suggested some criteria for the name on our website and the final decision will be announced in due course."

The poll closes on April 16. To vote for RRS Katharine Giles, visit https://nameourship.nerc.ac.uk/?id=9SduprYy.