SANTIAGO, Chile, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- International suppliers for the world's naval fleets have set sights on Central and South America and the Caribbean as the next growth area for naval procurement and refurbishment contracts.
The optimism is shared by regional shipyard and naval industries that are attending this week's Euronaval defense show in Paris in a bid to clinch new international partnerships.
The high-profile event is backed by the French Ministry of Defense and the French Secretariat of State for the Sea.
France is competing with international rivals to expand its naval manufacturing sales in Latin America after the launch of its joint submarine manufacture program with Brazil.
Brazil embarked on a multibillion-dollar regeneration of its shipbuilding capacity, neglected in the first two decades after return to democratic rule in 1985.
Argentina, Chile and Colombia have taken measures to build their shipbuilding and component making capacity while looking for new trade partners in this neglected sector of the Latin American defense industry.
This year's Euronaval has hundreds of participants from Latin American governments and defense businesses that want to capitalize on the revived interest in naval development and procurement.
Brazilian company Atrasorb showed off its specialist work on submarines, special purpose naval craft and ships and diving craft at the Parisian defense show.
Brazilian naval builder and service provider Emgepron hopes to build partnerships in warship construction, ship repairs and cartography.
Another Brazilian defense company, Estaleiro Eisa-Synergy Defense e Seguranca, is hoping to build new international business in surveillance ships, patrol craft and cargo ships and shipbuilding and repairs.
Major defense producer Odebrecht is looking to expand markets for its sea-to-sea and surface-to-surface missiles, command and control systems and data processing equipment.
The Chilean Defense Industry Asmar aims to secure international shipbuilding and repairs contracts from naval forces and maritime and fishing industries operating along the Latin American west coast.
Colombian shipbuilder Cotecmar has aroused investor interest because of its recent achievements in ocean-going and river vessels. Located in the port of Cartagena, just 180 miles of the Panama Canal, the shipyard boasts easy access from the most important maritime routes of the Caribbean Sea, a plus for new shipbuilding and repairs business.
Cotecmar built and launched Dona Clary, the first tugboat built in Colombia, to serve the country's offshore oil industry.
Cotecmar says the vessel is the first of its kind built in the world, "the result of a special design to support oil tanker loading operations and maritime infrastructure maintenance carried out in this specific case, in the Gulf of Morrosquillo," in the Caribbean Sea.