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 E. O’Connor is Montgomery McCracken’s New York Office Co-Managing Partner, a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, and a member of the Maritime and Transportation Practice Group. He represents insurers, owners and operators of vessels, and marine fuel suppliers among others. He specializes in environmental matters relating to oil pollution and coral damage under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, emissions regulations under MARPOL, and criminal investigations under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. He has significant experience handling claims arising from major marine casualties such as collisions, allisions, and fires under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and the Shipowners’ Limitation of Liability Act. Recently, he was lead counsel to one of the world’s largest marine fuel suppliers in connection with its bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation.

Robert also has experience arbitrating charter party disputes, attaching and arresting vessels and other property, 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.

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

Selected Representations

  • Counseled one of the world’s largest marine fuel suppliers in connection with its bankruptcy proceedings and related litigation
  • Represented fleet owner and operator in connection with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation concerning compliance with MARPOL Annex VI Emissions Control Areas (ECA) and fuel oil sulphur limits
  • Represented OPA 90 Responsible Parties during NRDAs and when presenting claims for reimbursement to the National Pollution Funds Center and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund
  • Represented a ship owner and operator in connection with litigation arising from a collision, explosion, and fire on a vessel while at sea, before trial and appellate courts
  • Counseled foreign and domestic ownership interests in connection with the formation of holding companies and the purchase, documentation, and registration of vessels

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

  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Maritime Law Association
  • North American Marine Environmental Protection Association
  • Connecticut Maritime Association
  • American Caribbean Maritime Foundation
    • At-Large Director
  • P&IQ Certification
    • 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); and Module 5 (Cargo Risks) with distinction of the International Group of P&I Clubs’ education program for legal correspondents.

Academic Achievements

Robert received a J.D. degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 2010. He was the president of the Joseph A. Calamari Admiralty Law Society, editor in chief of and a frequent contributor to The Admiralty Practicum, and vice president of the Student Bar Association. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with B.A. degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies.