BATH, Maine — Bath Iron Works remains in the running to design and build next-generation patrol cutters for the Coast Guard, according to a statement issued Tuesday by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King.

A Coast Guard request for proposals to design and build offshore patrol cutters drew submissions from eight shipyards before a Jan. 23 deadline. The Coast Guard narrowed that field to five on Tuesday, King and Collins said in a joint statement.

“The Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter contract would be an ideal fit for Bath Iron Works,” Collins and King said in the statement. “BIW has the capacity to assemble ships the size and ruggedness of the Offshore Patrol Cutters and the workforce needed to do the job, as well as a track record of designing, building and providing life cycle support for superior quality ships.”

The Coast Guard will continue to sort through the proposals before selecting as many as three preliminary designs in early 2014 for a two-year performance test period. The Coast Guard will choose a single shipyard from among those three, with plans to begin construction on the prototype cutter in fiscal year 2017.

The new cutters are designed to “replace the aging fleet of 210-foot and 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutters, which are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and operate and are, in many respects, technologically obsolete,” according to the Coast Guard’s website.

BIW builds destroyers for the U.S. Navy. The shipyard hasn’t built a vessel for the Coast Guard since the 1930s, although in recent years it has explored that possibility. In late 2008, the Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyard edged out BIW in a competition for new Coast Guard cutter contracts worth up to $1.5 billion.