Failures of marine propulsion components or systems can lead to serious consequences for a vessel, cargo and the people onboard a ship. These consequences can be financial losses, delay in delivery time or a threat to safety of the people onboard. This is why it is necessary to learn about marine propulsion failures in order to prevent worst-case scenarios. This paper aims to provide a review of experimental, analytical and numerical methods used in the failure analysis of ship propulsion systems. In order to achieve that, the main causes and failure mechanisms are described and summarized. Commonly used experimental, numerical and analytical tools for failure analysis are given. Most indicative case studies of ship failures describe where the origin of failure lies in the ship propulsion failures (i.e., shaft lines, crankshaft, bearings, foundations). In order to learn from such failures, a holistic engineering approach is inevitable. This paper tries to give suggestions to improve existing design procedures with a goal of producing more reliable propulsion systems and taking care of operational conditions.
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