Georgetown, Oct 12 : Guyana has said that the Venezuelan Navy entered its territorial waters and detained a US-operated ship.

The Venezuelan actions in the disputed Essequibo region constituted "a serious threat to peace in the region", Guyana said, adding that the ship belongs to Texas-based company Anadarko, which has been granted a contract to look for oil in the area, BBC reported.

Venezuela, however, said the ship was operating illegally in Venezuelan waters.

The vessel -- the Teknik Perdana -- was surveying the seafloor Thursday when it was approached by a Venezuelan Navy vessel and forced to sail to Venezuela's Margarita Island. At least five US citizens are on board, the company said.

"One point is clear: the Teknik Perdana was in Guyana's waters when this incident took place," said the Guyanan foreign ministry in a statement.

The Venezuelan foreign ministry issued a statement demanding an official explanation from the Guyanan authorities.

"Venezuela expresses its deepest concerns over the manner in which foreign vessels authorised by the government of Guyana enter Venezuelan territorial waters and exclusive economic area," said the statement.

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