Robert E. O'Connor
New York Office

437 Madison Avenue
24th Floor
New York, NY 10022

P: 212-551-7794
F: 212-599-5085


Robert “Bobby” O’Connor is Montgomery McCracken’s New York Office Co-Managing Partner.  He is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department and its Maritime and Transportation Practice Group. He represents commercial and individual clients in all aspects of civil litigation, including trials and appeals, in federal and state courts as well as in agency proceedings and private arbitration.

Mr. O’Connor’s primary practice is counseling international and domestic maritime industry clients like owners, operators, and charterers of vessels and their insurers. He has defended high-profile claims of cargo loss and damage arising from major marine casualties such as explosions, fires, collisions, allisions, groundings, and heavy weather incidents pursuant to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Shipowners’ Limitation of Liability Act.  He has handled numerous environmental matters relating to oil pollution, coral damage, and emissions violations under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and MARPOL. He was also lead maritime counsel to one of the world’s largest marine fuel traders in its bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation during which he appeared in federal courts throughout the United States, several foreign courts and arbitration tribunals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Bobby has additional maritime experience conducting onboard investigations of personal injury and cargo damage claims, arbitrating charter party and bunker disputes, attaching and arresting vessels and other property as security, drafting documents for the sale and purchase of vessels, and advising shippers and carriers about customs regulations. He provides pro bono legal assistance to mariners during suspension and revocation proceedings before the United States Coast Guard.  He was pro bono general counsel to the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation.

As a general commercial litigator and advisor, Bobby has handled a variety of contract and license disputes, enforced arbitration awards and foreign judgments, represented creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, defended complex civil RICO claims, acted as local counsel in New York federal courts, taken discovery in the US in aid of foreign proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, given expert opinions on US and New York law in support of foreign litigation, and counseled businesses on many general matters such as the formation of corporations and partnerships, negotiation of agreements, and drafting of standard terms and conditions.

Before joining Montgomery McCracken, Bobby was an attorney with Chalos O’Connor LLP. Previously, he was a research associate with an environmental economics consulting firm where he conducted natural resource damage assessments.

Selected Representations

  • Represented ship owners, operators, and charterers in litigation arising from explosions, fires, collisions, allisions, and heavy weather incidents pursuant to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Shipowners’ Limitation of Liability Act.
  • Represented OPA 90 Responsible Parties during emergency responses to oil spills and threats of oil spills, throughout natural resource damage assessments, when presenting claims for reimbursement to the National Pollution Funds Center and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, and when defending claims brought by third parties and natural resource damage trustees.
  • Represented the owner and operator of a fleet of ships in connection with a broad U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard subpoena and investigation concerning the fleet’s compliance with APPS and MARPOL emissions regulations.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest marine fuel suppliers in its bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation.
  • Represented ship owners and charterers in arbitration, and enforced arbitration awards and foreign judgments
  • Conducted onboard investigations concerning allegations of personal injuries and cargo damage

Selected Publications

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “Trends and Developments in Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Litigation: Hot Buttons to Know and Consider,” The Knowledge Group, November 2020
  • Panelist, “Legal, Compliance and Regulations Panel,” International Bunker Industry Association, November 2020
  • Moderator, “Issues and Solutions Arising from IMO 2020 ULSFO Requirements,” International Maritime Law Seminar, October 2019, London, England
  • Presenter, “A New Legal Landscape,”IBIA Caribbean Bunker Conference, September 2019, Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Presenter, “Bunkers in the US: Compliance with Emissions Regulations and Enforcement of Maritime Liens,” International Maritime Law Seminar, October 2018, London, England
  • Presenter, “OPA 90 – Liability & Claims,” Gallagher Marine  Systems – 2017 Maritime Symposiums, November 2017, Athens, Greece and London, England
  • Presenter, “MARPOL & The Department of Justice – Environmental Compliance Programs,” Gallagher Marine  Systems – 2017 Maritime Symposium, July 2017, New Jersey, USA
  • Presenter, “Athos I – Recovery of Response Costs and Damages,” Gallagher Marine Systems – 2016 Maritime Symposium, November 14, 2016, London, England
  • Keynote Speaker, “Maritime Bankruptcies,” St. John’s Admiralty Law Society – Annual Dinner, April 2016

Professional Activities & Achievements

  • P&IQ Certification (Correspondent)
    • Bobby has successfully completed Module 1 (The Shipping Business); Module 2 (P&I Insurance: History, Operation and Practice); Module 3 (Underwriting, Loss Prevention and Claims Handling); Module 4 (People Risks); Module 5 (Cargo Risks); and Module 6 (Collision, FFO and Pollution Risks) with distinction.
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
    • Marine Pollution and Maritime Crimes Committee
  • American Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Connecticut Maritime Association
  • North American Marine Environmental Protection Association

Academic Achievements

  • John’s University School of Law (J.D.)
    • President, Joseph A. Calamari Admiralty Law Society
    • Editor in Chief, The Admiralty Practicum
    • Vice President, Student Bar Association
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A.)