George K. Kontakis is a litigation attorney in the firm’s New York office and member of the K&L Gates maritime practice group. His practice encompasses a broad range of domestic and international maritime related matters, both civil and criminal. His civil practice includes environmental compliance, civil DOJ investigations, USCG Voluntary Disclosure applications, charter party disputes, maritime arbitration, P&I and FD&D matters, maritime collisions, spills and casualties, OFAC enforcement and compliance, vessel sales and purchases, insurance coverage disputes, and attachment and arrest proceedings. His criminal practice includes USCG investigations, and DOJ prosecutions, of MARPOL/APPS related crimes, including so called “magic pipe” allegations, and CWA and Ports & Waterways Safety Act violations. He is very experienced with environmental compliance, court ordered third-party auditing and probationary concerns.
George has successfully handled numerous maritime arbitration matters and complex civil litigations. He regularly works with global clients providing advice and strategy in all aspects of these matters. He has significant experience in conducting onboard vessel investigations, have concluded nearly 100 such investigations over the last decade. He frequently interacts with the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Justice, protecting the rights of vessel owners, operators, and crewmembers. George has concluded numerous plea agreements with the Department of Justice regarding MARPOL/APPS prosecutions, and has been a member of the trial team in several high-profile matters challenging the government’s case. George has also recently closed nearly $500M in vessel and yacht transactions.
Prior to law school, George earned his bachelor of science degree in marine transportation (cum laude) at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point (USMMA), as well as an unlimited U.S. Coast Guard Third Officer merchant mariner’s license and commission in the U.S. States Navy Reserve. Following graduation, George spent several years working as a dry cargo shipbroker with a highly regarded New York based global shipbrokerage firm and as acting Chartering Manager of a New Jersey based vessel Operator. George is also an avid off-shore sailboat competitor, having been awarded The Eugene F. Moran Award upon graduation from USMMA.
- Selected as a “Next Generation” lawyer in the area of “Transport: Shipping - Litigation and Regulation by Legal 500 USA, 2017-2021
- Chambers USA, ranked nationwide in Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York) – Band 4, 2017-2021
- Super Lawyers, Top Rated Transportation & Maritime attorney in New York, Rising Stars 2018
- Matthew I. DeLuca Sr. award for excellence in chartering and brokerage studies
- Eugene F. Moran award for overall achievement as an offshore sailing team skipper
- Maritime Law Association
- Connecticut Maritime Association
- American Bar Association
- New York Bar Association
- “USCG Authority to Conduct Inspections/Investigations and Crewmember Rights”, BLG Annual Maritime Law Seminar, Montreal, Québec - December 2018
- “MARPOL Annex I Violations, A Case Study and Anticipated Annex VI Prosecutions in the U.S.”, Norbulk Senior Officers’ Conference, Riga, Latvia, September 2016
- “MARPOL Prosecutions in the United States”, Norbulk Senior Officers’ Conference, Riga, Latvia, September 2015