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ABSTRACT: Vessels can operate in unpredictable environments depending on the geographical area and weather conditions. One example of conditions a vessel might not be assessed against is the presence of depth-varying currents, which are particularly relevant in confined waters where currents can be created due to tidal influences, or short fetches in inland waterways. The possible presence of depth-varying currents motivates a numerical assessment of the effects of sheared currents on the hydrodynamic performance of the KRISO Container Ship (KCS) in confined waters. The results highlight that exploiting currents, such as those generated by tides could be used to improve the energy efficiency of vessels considerably. These currents present significant possibilities for voyage optimisation based on geographical and meteorological conditions. The results specific for the KRISO container ship point to resistance reductions when the current assists ship motions, accompanied by considerable decreases in sinkage and trim. Conversely, when currents oppose ship motion, resistance, sinkage and trim can increase by a factor of 3 depending on the strength and shape of the depth-varying current. The results also show that a current with constant vorticity, a case frequently used in the literature to investigate the impact of sheared currents, creates the biggest increase and decrease for inhibiting and assisting currents, respectively.