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Latin America

Supporting Clients in Latin America

HFW has a long history of supporting clients in Latin America, with our global sectors closely aligned to the economic drivers of the region, including aviation, commodities, energy, oil and gas, insurance and shipping.

We have decades of experience advising on the most complex and high-value claims across Latin America, and our strong relationships with the best local counsel in each jurisdiction enables us to provide seamless domestic and cross-border advice on a comprehensive range of contentious and non-contentious matters.

We also operate a formal cooperation with Brazil's leading aviation and insurance firm, Costa, Albino & Rocha Advogados (CAR), which has offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. For further information on CAR, please visit

Our experience in Latin America

Our experience in Latin America extends across the region and for a range of clients, including airline operators, insurers and reinsurers, shipowners and charterers, oil and gas companies, service contractors and financial institutions. Some examples of our work in Latin America include:


  • Advising in connection with every major aviation crash in Brazil in the past 20 years
  • Advising Caribbean Airlines and insurers in connection with claims and issues arising from the runway excursion of a B737 aircraft in Georgetown, Guyana in July 2011 giving rise to total loss and passenger claims.
  • Assisting TAME in connection with runway excursions in Ecuador in September 2011 and April 2016.
  • Acted for a leading global freight forwarder in its capacity as a contracting air carrier in relation to a number of claims before the Brazilian courts for loss or damage to various cargo carried by air.

Energy, Oil and Gas

  • Advised on bids for petroleum hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and production rights in Mexico, Colombia, Suriname, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America, involving reviewing local petroleum legislation and advising on PSAs and JOAs.
  • Acting for various international offshore, oil & gas contractors in the negotiation and drafting of long terms services and charter contracts for provision of services offshore Brazil.
  • Acting for various international oilfield services contractors and drilling contractors in tender and bid programs for oilfield services and drilling services (onshore and offshore), and in the negotiation and drafting of related oilfield services and drilling contracts, for NOCs and IOCs throughout Latin America and Mexico.
  • Acting for Asia based EPC and EPCIC contractors negotiate, draft and perform vessel construction and conversion projects for deployment offshore Brazil, including handling dispute management between the various contractors.
  • Advising on claims arising out of a production shut down dispute in a Brazilian offshore oil & gas field.
  • Served as Seller’s counsel in the sale of Latin American based land drilling company valued at US$1billion and continued to manage post-closing matters.
  • Served as counsel to international pipeline company in its tender and bid to construct an offshore pipeline in the Mexican Gulf of Mexico, crossing international borders from Texas into Mexico, and delivering to multiple off-take points.
  • Advised PEMEX in creating and financing international special purpose entity for the purchase of offshore drilling rigs from international suppliers, including drafting and negotiating joint venture documents, bank loan documents, trust documents, and purchase and related agreements.


  • Representing a leading independent reinsurance group in connection with a US$250 million property damage and business interruption claim following a fire at an oil refinery in Illinois USA owned by a Venezuelan state-owned oil company.
  • Instructed by the captive insurer of a major petroleum company in relation to two separate losses arising from explosions at two of the insured's offshore platforms located off the coast of Mexico, allegedly caused by accelerated corrosion and manufacturing defects.
  • Representing a leading Peruvian utility company in a dispute with its insurers, a Peruvian insurance company, under its Contractor All Risks (CAR) and Advanced Loss of Profits (ALOP) policy for values up to US$29 million.
  • Advising a shipping company on the merits of an excessive demand for emergency / salvage and port fees following the grounding of the 'Sea Melody' at Rio Grande, Brazil (cc US$1.6 million).
  • Instructing London market E&O underwriters of a South American reinsurance broker in Chile in connection with alleged failures in securing back to back cover for its client's insurance, as fronting insurer, of a state-owned port owning corporation under a US$1 billion programme.
  • Acting as defence counsel for a Colombian reinsurance broker arising from the placement of reinsurance in relation to professional indemnity insurance taken out by the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota valued at COP12bn.
  • Advising an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum dual-listed public company in relation to a Brazilian mining company’s claim under US$600 million Property Damage/Business Interruption Policy following the breach of the Fundao dam on 5 November 2015.
  • Acting for the latent owners of a private equity and venture capital firm in respect of losses arising from the conversion of a decommissioned military patrol vessel to a superyacht.
  • Advising a residential public utilities company on coverage related issues to a potential loss of up to US$3 billion due to heavy floods, which occurred at Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam project.
  • Advising on the constructive total loss claim of a turbine worth US $14 million after it was dropped onto the quayside in Antwerp during loading onto a vessel in 2001, now worth in excess of US$80 million.


  • Advised a global container terminal operator in relation to the acquisition of a 50% stake in a new Brazilian terminal development, including negotiating the share purchase agreement, shareholders' agreement and long-term terminal service agreements for major affiliated container shipping lines.
  • Advised Pacific Basin on its participation in a newly formed US$20m Mexican joint-venture, Nafta Gulf Bridge SAPI de C.V., which established a ferry service operating in the Gulf of Mexico between Mobil, Alabama, USA and Veracruz, Mexico. The joint venture ferry service, the first of its kind, brought together a unique mix of JV partners located around the world.
  • Multi-million dollar cargo claim: LMAA Arbitration - representing voyage charterers in a claim against disponent owners for substantial losses arising out of contamination (excess acidity) of the ethanol parcel of a co-loaded ethanol/ultra-low sulphur diesel cargo, involving the ports of Itaqui and Suape, Brazil and complicated issues relating to the Brazilian ANP Fuel Ethanol Specifications.
  • Advised a charterer/commodities trading company in a cargo shortage dispute in Uruguay, referred to arbitration.
  • Represented a US-based insurer on a recovery cargo claim deriving from an accident at the Port of Santos, Brazil.
  • Acted for the owners and insurers of a vessel following her grounding in the Magdalena River in Colombia. Dealing with the subsequent LOF services, general average, cargo claims and unsafe port claim.
  • Advised on recoveries under a Builder's Risks insurance policy arising out of the negligent retro-fitting of a super-yacht at a shipyard in Brazil.
  • Acted from the Owners, H&M and P&I insurers and reinsurers following the fire and explosion onboard a laden oil tanker, off the coast of Mexico, in particular in the defence of the LOF/SCOPIC and common law salvage claims.
  • Acted for owners and their liability underwriters in defending a US$ 25 million negligent salvor claim.
  • Acting for the hull insurers in relation to an LOF claim and related claim for tug girding and loss of life, following a grounding in Suriname.

Commodity and Trade Finance

  • Advising Sucafina Brasil on a $110m syndicated pre-export finance facility with Rabobank, Société Générale, ING and Natixis for the purchase and storage of green coffee, secured inter alia by a security over inventories (penhor mercantil) governed by Brazilian law. The original transaction was awarded TXF Soft Commodities Deal of the Year 2018.
  • Advising an international grain trader on numerous structured trade finance transactions involving Latin American banks – Banco de Bogota, Bancolombia, Banco do Brasil, Itau Corpbanca and Bladex.
  • Advising a grain trader on intra-group receivables purchase agreements involving Brazilian soft commodity export flows.
  • Advising a Swiss bank on a $30m receivables discounting agreement relating to sales of naphtha to Braskem.
  • Advising a Swiss bank on a $30m trade financing facility to a European sugar trading house for the purchase, transportation (rail + truck) and storage of Brazilian sugar.
  • Advising a European coffee trading house on its insurance arrangements relating to $200m of performance risk under forward purchase agreements with Brazilian farms and cooperatives.  

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