BERLIN — US planes and a destroyer attacked Libyan ships after reports they were "firing indiscriminately at merchant vessels" in the northwestern port of Misrata, US Africa Command said Tuesday.

"A US Navy P-3C Maritime Patrol aircraft, a US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft and guided-missile destroyer USS Barry engaged Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria and two smaller crafts" late Monday, a statement said.

The command, based in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart, said it had "confirmed reports" the Libyan vessels were harassing merchant vessels in Misrata.

"Multiple explosions were observed in the vicinity of the port rendering the 12-meter (Libyan) patrol vessel ineffective and forcing it to be beached," it said, referring the Vittoria.

It added that the A-10 had fired on the two small Libyan craft, destroying one and forcing the other to be abandoned.

The attack was part of US participation in the UN-mandated mission to protect Libyan civilians, the command said.