They were firing indiscriminately at shipping.
USS MOUNT WHITNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- A U.S. Navy P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft and guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52), engaged Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria and two smaller craft March 28.
The vessels were engaged after confirmed reports that Vittoria and accompanying crafts were firing indiscriminately at merchant vessels in the port of Misrata, Libya.
The P-3C fired at Vittoria with AGM-65F Maverick missiles, rendering the 12-meter patrol vessel ineffective and forcing it to be beached after multiple explosions were observed in the vicinity of the port.
Two smaller Libyan craft were fired upon by the A-10 using its 30mm GAU-8/ Avenger cannon, destroying one and forcing the other to be abandoned.
Barry provided situational awareness for the aircraft by managing the airspace and maintaining the maritime picture.