Data on shipping traffic in one of the busiest seaports in the world, the Port of Kaohsiung, were analyzed to evaluate the implications for ballast water management. Results show that 67% of the arriving vessels were registered to a flag of convenience, which typically have a lower degree of environmental records. The top five donor countries historically suffer from harmful algal bloom problems. The short journey and busy trading between these countries and Taiwan lead to a higher risk of inoculation. In addition, only 1.4% of all vessels visited more than once every year during the 9-year span, indicating that the port authority encounters many new vessels each year. These findings could influence the design and application of ballast water management strategies as well as highlight the challenges in their implementation. We suggest that an analysis of vessel traffic patterns should be coupled with other useful vessel information to make risk assessment successful.
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