Olaf Aprans


Olaf Aprans

Olaf Aprans


​Phone: 978-744-8918 x4

E-mail: oaprans@fsofirm.com

Salem Office

27 Congress Street, Suite 508

Salem, MA 01970

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Olaf’s practice involves a full range of maritime, environmental, insurance and commercial matters. His clients include underwriters, insurers, protection and indemnity (“P&I”) clubs, vessel owners, fishing companies, marinas, shipyards, tug and barge companies, passenger vessel operators, offshore wind support, banks, private lenders and investors.

Olaf has considerable experience in casualty investigations, oil spills and crisis response and litigation resulting from marine casualties. He has significant trial, appellate and arbitration experience relating to admiralty and maritime cases, environmental pollution matters, commercial disputes, fisheries, personal injury, cargo and property damage, and insurance coverage litigation.

Olaf also has extensive experience advising clients in business, finance, fisheries and commercial maritime transactions. This includes general business formation and corporate concerns, workouts, loan participations, charter parties, vessel and fishing permit transactions, foreclosure/arrest, preferred mortgages, maritime liens, fishing rights, shipbuilding contracts, and Coast Guard, NOAA/NMFS, and Maritime Administration regulatory issues, including Jones Act citizenship issues.

Olaf helps both foreign and domestic clients form Jones Act compliant joint ventures and partnerships participating in the growing U.S. offshore wind sector and regularly advises stakeholders in this promising field.

Olaf helps clients navigate complex environmental issues inclusive of those in the Endangered Species Act and the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Olaf has successfully litigated and defended through trial the Massachusetts lobster fishery and has prosecuted significant claims to fishing rights in state and federal courts and arbitration.

Before joining Farrell Smith O’Connell Aarsheim Aprans LLP, Olaf spent over a decade working in maritime defense firms in Boston and Seattle. He brings the unique perspective of practicing admiralty and maritime law on both the East and West Coasts and representing interests in both the New England and Alaska fishing industries.

Before becoming a lawyer, Olaf worked for most of his life as a deckhand onboard F/V BLACK PEARL harvesting lobster out of Gloucester, Massachusetts with his father and brothers. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst tuition free and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Philosophy. He attended New England School of Law on a full tuition merit scholarship where he graduated magna cum laude in the top 10% of his class. While in law school, he served as an Editor on the New England Law Review, was a student prosecutor for the Essex County District Attorney, and clerked for the Hon. David A. Lowy, who presently sits on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Olaf is the Co-Editor of the Federal Bar Association’s Admiralty Law Section newsletter, Admiralitas.

Olaf lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts with his wife and children and often assists local community causes. In the past he has served on the board of directors of The Gloucester Adventure, Inc., which is entrusted with restoring and maintaining the schooner Adventure. He has also provided assistance to Sail GHS (Gloucester High School Sailing Team), and the Gloucester Harbor Community Development Corporation.

Practice Areas

  • Admiralty and Maritime Law
  • General Litigation, Trial and Appellate Practice
  • Insurance Coverage and Defense
  • Offshore Wind
  • Oil Spills and Pollution
  • Personal Injury, Jones Act, and Longshore defense
  • Cargo and Property Damage
  • Collisions, groundings, and other marine casualties
  • Salvage
  • Commercial Maritime Transactions
  • Coast Guard and Maritime Administration regulatory issues
  • NOAA/NMFS regulatory issues and defense of enforcement actions
  • Vessel Arrests and Foreclosure
  • Fisheries
  • Commercial Lending
  • Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • General business law and corporate concerns


  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • New England School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2007
  • University of Massachusetts, B.A., Philosophy, cum laude, 2004
  • Gloucester High School, 2000

Professional Associations

  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Boston

​Notable Cases

  • Judgment exonerating (no liability) fishing vessel owner for improperly filed Jones Act case affirmed on appeal. In re G&J Fisheries, Inc., 67 F.4th 20 (1st Cir. 2023), 570 F. Supp. 3d 8 (D. Mass. 2021) and 598 F.Supp.3d 18 (D. Mass. 2022).
  • Order sanctioning Jones Act plaintiffs’ counsel for conducting improper ex parte crew interviews. In re G&J Fisheries, Inc., C.A. No. 20-11703-LTS (D. Mass., Doc. No. 104, Aug. 17, 2022).
  • Dismissal of action seeking to sever ongoing arbitration pursuant to G.L. c. 251, § 2A. Shamrock Fisheries, LLC v. BASE, Inc., C.A. No. 21-891 (Bristol Sup. Ct., Doc. No. 24, March 30, 2022).
  • After lengthy trial, dismissal of right whale advocate’s Endangered Species Act case seeking to ban commercial lobstering with traditional gear. Strahan v. Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Env. Affairs, C.A. No. 19-10639-IT (D. Mass., Doc. No. 612, Nov. 30, 2021).
  • Final judgment compelling arbitration of right of first refusal claim against nonsignatory to groundfish sector membership agreement. The Shamrock Group et al. v. BASE, Inc., 2021 WL 5630834 (Mass. Super. Ct. May 3, 2021).
  • Summary judgment in favor of fishing vessel owner (no liability) on deckhand’s claim for maintenance and cure. G&J Fisheries, Inc. v. Peter Amaral et al., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 226118 (D. Mass. Oct. 15, 2020).
  • Dismissal of warranty claim against manufacturer of a bow thruster for lack of personal jurisdiction. Ace American Insurance Co. v. Oyster Harbors Marine, Inc., 310 F.Supp.3d 295 (D. Mass. 2018).
  • Dismissal of claims for cleanup and removal expenses against contract operator of naval ship under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. U.S.A., 2016 WL 10651867 (April 19, 2016). Affirmed on appeal. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co. v. U.S.A., 871 F.3d 131 (1st Cir. 2017).
  • Arbitration Award and Judgment exceeding $3.5 Million on behalf of Mexican Tug & Barge Company in unpaid charter hire. CHM Maritime SAPI de CV v. Micoperi, SrL, 15-CV-13092-ADB (D. Mass. 2015); Micoperi, S.r.L. v. CHM Maritime SAPI de CV, 15-CV-10296-ADB (D. Mass. 2015).
  • Summary judgment in favor of hull insurer (no liability) for insured’s breach of the lay up warranty in yacht policy. New Hampshire Insurance Company v. Rinkem, Inc., 2015 WL 12964338 (D. Mass. October 21, 2015).
  • Summary judgment in favor of cargo insurer (no liability) for Dominican lost textiles exceeding $2 Million under warehouse endorsement. Eveden, Inc. v. Northern Assurance Company of America, 2014 WL 952643 (D. Mass. March 12, 2014).
  • Defense verdict in favor of ship owner (no liability) in wrongful death action brought by Harbor Pilot. Cordes v. M/V BALDOCK, 2013 WL 1282842 (D. Mass. March 29, 2013).
  • Defense verdict in favor of passenger vessel owner (no liability) in crewmember Jones Act case Stovich v. Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, 08-CV-10202-RWZ (D. Mass. September 8, 2010);
  • $8.5 Million Judgment for cleanup and removal costs on behalf of vessel owner under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. See In re Alex C. Corp., 2010 WL 4292328 (D. Mass. November 1, 2010).
  • Summary judgment in favor of carrier for unpaid freight based upon the carrier’s filed tariff. Horizon Lines, LLC v. Expert Forwarders, Inc., 2009 WL 2578981 (W.D. Wash. August 19, 2009).

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