In 1949 the arrival of two commercial sailing ships in Penarth sparked something of a media frenzy.

Sisterships the Passat and the Pamir - which were to spend over a year docked in Penarth - were well known around the world because they were the last square-rigged commercial sailing vessels to go around Cape Horn.

They had no motor and no radio aboard when they completed the journey.

Local historian Alan Thorne said: "There was huge interest in the Passat and the Pamir.

"They were among the best-known ships of their time. Crowds thronged to the docks to see them.

"I believe either Penarth Town Council or the Vale Council should dedicate a memorial to their part in the town's history. Although Plas Pamir and Plas Passat in the Marina are named after the vessels, a permanent memorial would also be fitting."

Alan Thorne said: "The Passat reached Penarth via Queenstown for orders on October 2 and the Pamir arrived via Falmouth. They were the last square-rigged commercial sailing vessels to round cape Horn and the last to make oceanic passages.

"The vessels lay alongside the north wall of Penarth Dock for some time before being towed to Barry to discharge at Rank's Mill and were then towed back to Penarth.

"The 3020-ton Pamir had been launched in Hamburg in 1905 by Blohm and Voss, while the 3183-ton Passat was launched in 1911."

This year is the 50th anniversary of the loss of the Pamir, marking the end of an era in nautical history.

Alan Thorne said: "During 1957 the Pamir was loaded with grain in bulk. There had been a dockers' strike in Buenos Aires and the loading had been carried out by soldiers.

"Running home under six topsails, foresail, innerjib and topmast staysails in a strong wind, she was caught by hurricane Carrie on September 21.

"She foundered with only six of her crew of 86 being saved."

The Pamir sank about 600 miles south-west of the Azores.