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Steven M. Stancliff

Steve advises commercial ship owners, salvors, ship repairers, dredging and marine construction companies, and their insurers in all aspects of marine operations and casualty response. Steve is ready to support casualty response involving collisions, groundings, marine pollution, marine salvage, machinery failures, governmental investigations, and other incidents and disputes in federal and state courts in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as vessel arrests, attachments, limitation actions, and salvage proceedings.
Case Western Reserve University, J.D. 1996
University of Rhode Island, M.M.A. (Marine Affairs) 1992
United States Coast Guard Academy, B.S. (Marine Engineering) 1984
Bar/Court Admissions
Virginia State Bar
North Carolina State Bar
Ohio State Bar
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
Community Involvement
The Propeller Club of Norfolk
Representative Experience
Representative Cases
Articles and Presentations
  • Resolves admiralty and maritime disputes (vessel arrests, Jones Act claims, Suits in Admiralty Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act, contract disputes, maritime torts, fishing vessel operations, licensing and permits, damaged shore structures, personal injuries, and machinery failures.)
  • Lectured in the regional and local maritime and legal communities on maritime legal issues relating to vessel arrest, ship-owners limitation of liability actions, marine salvage, vessel collisions, marine casualty investigations and recreational vessels.
  • More than 20 years active duty commissioned service in the United States Coast Guard, concluding at the rank of Commander. Legal, shipboard engineering and operational assignments in New York City, Newport, RI, Cleveland, OH, Honolulu, HI, San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA and Portsmouth, VA.
  • Legal advisor for Coast Guard and other federal officials regarding urgent maritime operations, regulation of commercial shipping and licensed mariners, environmental compliance, criminal investigations and enforcement, maritime trade, maritime transportation security, investigation of major marine casualties, and international law issues.
  • As Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, litigated civil claims in Admiralty on behalf of the United States, including ship collisions, groundings, oil spills, contract disputes and law enforcement activities.
  • Routinely directed and coordinated complex civil and criminal inter-agency investigations among numerous federal, state and international investigative agencies in maritime domain.
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Districts of Maine and Rhode Island investigating and prosecuting allegations of oil pollution, MARPOL violations, and violent crime on the high seas.
  • Flame S.A. v. Indus. Carriers, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131981 (E.D. Va. Sept. 19, 2014)
  • Kelly v. United States, 7:10-CV-172-FL, 2011 WL 3555853 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 11, 2011
  • Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Co. v. M/V MARLIN, 2009 A.M.C. 2465 (E.D. Va. 2009)
  • Styron v. Norfolk Dredging Co., 262 F.R.D. 502, 502 (E.D.N.C. 2009)
  • Eck v. United States, 1999 AMC 2941 (S.D.Cal)
  • United States v. Phillips, 56 M.J. 771 (C.G. Ct. Crim. App. 2002)
  • “Ethical Dilemmas for Maritime Attorneys”, co-presenter at SEALI Annual Seminar (June 2016)
  • “Top 10 Things Every Lawyer Should Know About Maritime and Boating Law,” presented at Bench-Bar Conference of NPBA (2015)
  • “Recent Maritime Law Developments in The United States Supreme Court and The United States Courts of Appeal for the First, Second, and Fourth Circuits,” presented at SEALI Annual Seminar (2012)
  • “It’s No Fun Being an (Injured) Illegal Alien (Maritime Worker),” presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2010)
  • “The Continuing Vitality of the Limitation of Liability Act,” presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2009)
  • “A Legal Guide to Pleasure Boating” — presented at Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association CLE Seminar — covering subjects including: the nautical rules of the road, the legal framework for Coast Guard search and rescue operations, the evolution of government maritime security regimes, laws for the protection of the environment, and law enforcement authorities on the navigable waters of the United States; May 2008 and 2010
  • State and Federal Cooperation in Maritime Homeland Security Mission; Panelist at National Association of State Boating Law Administrators 45th Annual Conference, 2004
  • United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Maritime Security, and International Fisheries Law and Management; Defense International Institute of Legal Studies 2003 mission to the archipelagic state of Vanuatu
News and Updates
Steve Stancliff Elected as Officer of SEALI
Posted on December 7, 2017
Steve Stancliff, chair of the firm’s Admiralty & Maritime practice group, has been elected to serve as an officer of the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute (SEALI). He most recently served…...
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CWM Attorneys Recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers®
Posted on April 17, 2017
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that nine of its lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 list of Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars. …...
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Tidewater Arts Outreach Appoints President
Posted on August 8, 2016
The organization appointed the following officers to serve for 2016-2017:   Steven Stancliff (Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC), president; Osman Lambiro (Sentara Life Care), vice president; Jennifer Bonsiewich (Dixon Hughes Goodman…...
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CWM Attorneys Recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers®
Posted on April 7, 2016
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that ten of its lawyers were included in the 2016 list of Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars.  According to Virginia…...
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Tidewater Arts Outreach Adds New Board Member
Posted on December 1, 2015
CWM attorney Steven M. Stancliff has been elected to serve a three year term on the Board of Directors for Tidewater Arts Outreach. Steve chairs CWM's Admiralty & Maritime Law practice…...
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Steven M. Stancliff Named Chair of the Firm's Admiralty & Maritime Practice Group
Posted on November 14, 2014
Mr. Stancliff joined the firm in 2007 following a distinguished career in the United States Coast Guard, retiring at the rank of Commander.  "Steve's background and expertise make him ideally…...
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James Chapman and Steve Stancliff represent partnership in win for rights to salvage gold treasure
Posted on July 10, 2014
CINCINNATI (AP) — A fugitive treasure hunter's company has lost its bid to stop deep-sea explorers from bringing up gold and other artifacts from a ship that sank off the…...
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