Case Study 3: Example of Shaft alignment & bearing failures on large vessels

Importance of independent assessments in new designs


A client entered into a contract to purchase a fleet of 14 ships with a new design concept developed by a consortium of Large Class societies and ship design offices. However as the vessels entered operation a series of stern tube bearings failed. Brookes Bell were asked to investigate the underlying cause of these failures and present possible rectification measures.


The work involved naval architects, marine engineers and mechanical engineers. Advanced simulations in hull, shaft alignment and propeller hydrodynamics showed that the design of the propulsion system was not adequate for the chosen shape of the hull and structures. Various rectification measures were identified and highlighted.

This shows how effective the interdepartmental collaboration between Brookes Bell marine and mechanical engineers, tribologists, naval architects and hydrodynamic experts can be. It also indicates the importance of independent assessments in new designs, which applies to superyacht design too.