VALPARAISO, Chile, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Maritime security concerns are fueling a rise in the marketing and sales of equipment and services that feed into the growing procurement business with Central and South American navies and commercial shipping.
The security concerns, often expressed at regional defense and security conferences, drove new maritime business at recent arms fairs in Central and South America.
Businesses and government decision-makers will gather Dec. 4-7 at Valparaiso, Chile, for a review of the latest in defense and security innovations for seaborne armed forces, maritime business and maritime security industry.
Brazil's multibillion-dollar development of offshore oil and gas resources has triggered a boom in copycat exploration and development along the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean coastlines shared by many countries.
The International Maritime Exhibition and Conference for Latin America at the Chilean port follows similar events in Brazil and numerous other locations in Central and South America through the 2011-12 period.
The event, also called Expo Naval, is a meeting point for procurement heads, directors of military organizations, public and government civil servants and defense contracting companies.
However, analysts said financial cutbacks would likely affect attendance this year. U.S. firms in particular have clamped down on foreign marketing campaigns requiring human presence from their headquarters and U.S. government agencies have also cut back on junkets.
Faced with stringent expenditure cuts, international companies have embarked on recruiting local staff and setting up regional representative offices with modest outlays, in contrast to previous tendency to splash on foreign marketing.
Industry analysts said Expo Naval expects a larger input from defense and security manufacturers in Asia, particularly China and South Korea, and a moderate presence from Europe including Russia.
Defense and security firms say they expect business in specialist training programs to grow.
Dutch manufacturer VSTEP secured a partnership with Brazil's Anacom Electronica to distribute the company's advanced NAUTIS maritime simulators and RescueSim emergency response simulators in South America.
VSTEP has expanded its international sales profile to include Latin American, North American and East Asia markets.
Anacom Director Carlos Lion said he hoped VSTEP's NAUTIS and RescueSim will better train Brazilian maritime and emergency response professionals.
"Compared to the rest of the world, Latin America has some catching up to do in terms of new technologies applied for training and simulation," he said.
"By introducing VSTEP's innovative simulation solutions for security, rescue, industrial and maritime sectors, we give professionals the chance to train realistically at an affordable rate."
VSTEP also secured an official distribution and training partnership with Centro de Investigacion y Entrenamiento Maritimo y Fluvial, a training business unit of Servicio Integral de Practicos S.A. in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
CIEMF until recently was the first customer in Latin America to implement the NAUTIS maritime simulation software on its Full Mission Bridge Simulator. Now the center is VSTEP's first Latin American training partner, using its high-end simulator to train maritime professionals across Latin America.
Latin America is experiencing rapid economic growth and looking to innovative solutions to maintain its impressive rate of growth, VSTEP says.
With focus on highly realistic yet cost effective solutions, the VSTEP simulators are "a perfect fit in the region," says the company, which has headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
VSTEP Vice President for Business Development Capt. Mark Woolley, a retired U.S. Navy professional, said, "The real value of maritime simulators lies in the experience of the instructors, who are able to create a superior learning environment for students."
NAUTIS maritime simulation allows for realistic simulation of sailing maneuvers, docking, mooring to buoys, use of ropes and tugs, all sorts of failures and events, and different hydro meteorological and visibility conditions, says SIPSA/CIEMF training head Alberto Secchi.