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School pupils asked to name new Belgian research ship
Belgian school pupils have been asked to come up with the name for a new marine research vessel due to enter service in 2020.
The Federal Science Policy Office's new ship will replace the Belgica, which is being retired after 35 years of service, and will be bigger and more energy-efficient.
The Belgica welcomes about 300 Belgian and foreign scientists each year, to carry out oceanographic research mainly in the North Sea.
It bears the same name as the ship used by Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache, who led one of the first scientific expeditions to the Antarctic in 1898.
"We want to get young people interested in science," said federal science minister Zuhal Demir. "The new name is not an attempt to erase history."
A competition at schools around the country will invite pupils to suggest a name, which should be related to sea and/or Belgian research. Demir would like the new vessel to be named after a Belgian female scientist.
A panel will shortlist the best suggestions, which will then be put to a public vote online. The winning name will be announced next March.