The independence of numerical and parameter uncertainties is investigated for the flow around the KVLCC2 tanker at Re = 4.6 × 106 using the time-averaged RANS equations supplemented by the k–ω two-equation SST model. The uncertain input parameter is the inlet velocity that varies ±0.25% and ±0.50% for the determination of sensitivity coefficients using finite-difference approximations. The quantities of interest are the friction and pressure coefficients of the ship and the Cartesian velocity components and turbulence kinetic energy at the propeller plane.

A grid refinement study is performed for the nominal conditions to allow the estimation of the discretization error with power series expansions. However, for grids between 6 × 106 and 47.6 × 106 cells, not all the selected quantities of interest exhibit monotonic convergence. Therefore, the estimates of the sensitivity coefficients of the selected quantities of interest using the local sensitivity method and finite-differences performed for refinement levels that correspond to 0.764 × 106, 6 × 106 and 47.6 × 106 cells lead to significantly different values. Nonetheless, for a given grid, negligible differences are obtained for the sensitivity coefficients obtained with two different intervals in the finite-differences approximation.

Discrepancies between sensitivity coefficients are compared with the estimated numerical uncertainties. Results obtained in the study suggest that uncertainty quantification performed in coarse grids may be significantly affected by discretization errors.

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