An Australian sailor made a unique connection with an Indian counterpart when HMAS Ballarat took on fuel from the Indian Navy’s fleet support ship INS Shakti while at sea.

The song 1000 miles away by Australian band The Hoodoo Gurus pumped out as fuel pumped from Shakti to Ballarat during Ballarat's first replenishment with the tanker while on Exercise Malabar.

The ships sailed steadily alongside as the crews worked together.

Because of COVID-19, Ballarat won’t have a port visit as part of this deployment. The port visits often include a game of soccer or cricket among the crews.

But during the refuelling, Able Seaman Electronics Technician Charlie Smith took the opportunity to make a connection with an Indian Navy sailor on the tanker.

“Using my version of semaphore signalling, I attracted the attention of a sailor working high up on Shakti’s bridge overseeing the fuel transfer,” Able Seaman Smith said.

“I bid farewell to my Ballarat cap, placed it into the messenger bag and sent it across one of the lines leading to Shakti.

“The cap made its way across the line and eventually to the bridge and the Indian sailor.

“The crews from both ships cheered when the sailor donned the cap.

“During the second replenishment, my shipmate from Shakti reciprocated the gesture by running a cap across the light-line transfer system for me  — I was over the moon.”