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Premature cracking of the epoxy coatings applied on ship's ballast tanks(BT) can lead to damage of ship's hulls. To avoid this, it's important to have clear understanding of the underlying mechanism and primary factors of the coating crack. In this study, the efforts were made to clarify the integrated effects of main factors, i.e., initial coating shrinkage, thermally induced strain, steel-structural strain and the intrinsic coating flexibility at the initial and after aging, to the early cracking phenomena of epoxy coating in the ship's ballast tank. The coating crack is caused by combination of thermal stress, structural stress, and internal stresses which is closely related to chemical structures of the coatings. On the other hand, thermal stresses and dimensional stabilities would rarely play a major role in coating crack for ballast tank coatings with rather large flexibility. Crack resistance of the coatings at early stages can be estimated roughly by measuring internal stress, FT-IR and Tg value of the coatings. A new screening test method was also proposed in this study, which can be possibly related to the long-term resistance of epoxy-based paints to cracking.