It will also make it possible to continue using the Middensluis lock for a while longer while the new lock in Terneuzen (the Nieuwe Sluis) is being built. This is important to the operation of North Sea Port as a maritime gateway. The contractors consortium Sassevart came up with this temporary passageway as a means to lessen the shipping sector's inconvenience as a result of the construction. Their idea will make it possible to continue using the Middensluis lock until mid-2021 rather than mid-2019.
Ships in North Sea Port have been able to make use of the temporary channel since Saturday 4 May. The barge Lurona was the very first vessel to transit the Captain Rooibos channel. The channel can accommodate vessels up to (at maximum) a length of 105 meters, a breadth of 9.5 meters and a draught of 3 meters. Ships with a draught deeper than 3 meters will need to use the Oostsluis lock. The depth of this lock has been (provisionally) increased from 4.30 to 4.80 meters.
The channel takes its name from a band from Zeelandic Flanders, the Lamakettas, who had a hit song about a maritime hero of Zeelandic Flanders who terrorised the high seas around the globe in the 17th century: Captain Rooibos. Following a social-media call for suggestions for a fun name for the temporary channel, this Captain ultimately emerged as the winner.