LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - Tougher requirements for some ship insurers covering United Arab Emirates ships are aimed at boosting environmental safety, the UAE state news agency (WAM) reported, amid growing concerns over unregulated shipping.

The UAE's energy and infrastructure ministry in a June 2 circular announced it would tighten insurance criteria for vessels registered under its flag for insurers that are not part of the leading International Group of ship insurers, known as P&I clubs, which cover 90% of the world's ocean-going fleet.

"By prioritising stringent P&I standards, we ensure the safety, financial security, and environmental stewardship of our maritime activities, attracting reputable investors," Hessa Al Malek, advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, was quoted by WAM as saying.

WAM said the move would also reduce the risk of accidents and oil spills, leading to a safer and more secure marine environment.

Hundreds of "ghost" tankers, which are not fully regulated, have joined an opaque parallel shipping trade over the past few years, carrying oil from countries hit by Western sanctions and restrictions, including Russia and Iran.

The number of incidents last year, including groundings, collisions and near misses involving these ships reached the highest in years, a Reuters investigation showed.

The Financial Action Task Force in March 2022 included the UAE on a list of jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring, known as its "grey" list.

The UAE is one of the world's biggest maritime hubs and has also become an operating location for shipping companies who do not have top tier insurance cover or other services from the world's biggest providers such as safety certification.

Reporting by Jonathan Saul, additional reporting by Lisa Barrington in Dubai; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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