It was the first section to be formed for the acquisition of hundreds of epochal documents, from the mid eighteenth century up to 1950.
The classification is varied because it regards the Merchant Marine and the Navy.
Ships logs, manuscripts, a collection of antique bills of lading, registers of seafolk, navigation booklets, acts of disappearance at sea, lading documents, accounting records, copies of letters, travel reports, Certificates of Invalidity, extracts from service records, diplomas of merit and salvage, private agreements and contracts for the construction of vessels, etc., represent the vanished world of the old Merchant Marine life, with particular reference to the Ligurian Mercantile Navy.
An essential component of the documentation regards statistics that range from a census of ‘boats’ with their owners and captains to the oldest maritime tradings (arrivals and departures), showing a glimpse of the merely commercial aspect of navigation.
A considerable part of the documents on display refers to navigators: patrons, captains of Foreign Trade, First Class captains (as they used to call a Master Mariner (also "Sea Captain"), with certificates bearing the signatures of various ministers of the Kingdom of Italy and the seat of the subsequent capitals.
These are in fact government ‘safe conducts’ issued to the command ... covering the two hemispheres, the so called "Licences" and/or Permits for Coasting Trade.
As far as the Navy is concerned, other documents represent the various Italian Marine Forces before the birth of the Italian kingdom. There are several ‘Permission of Leave’ certificates released by the Marine Departments, signed by the Commander-in-chief and undersigned by Members of the Head Cabinet of Administration of the First Division of the Royal Crew Corps (namely "Sea Army"), as the Navy was called during the first decades of the nineteenth century. And again, personal booklets, certificates of good conduct, navigation journals, diplomas and merits, orders from the Navy Call Up.
A book on Common Signals - ..."to be observed above the Squad of the Vessels of the Sacred Republic, made in Malta on February 6, 1715" - is a beautiful exhibit together with a Signal Book dated 1750.
Of great interest is ‘the language’ used in the bills of lading, almost all relating to the end of the eighteenth century.
These documents are fundamental for the historical reconstruction of the type of maritime commerce, since they indicate the most disparate vessels, the description of shipment and the names of the captains ... "In God’s name and just protection, once in that Roadstead of Porto Maurizio, dominion of the Serene Highness of the Republic of Genoa, Paolo Ambrogio Varese and Sons, Subjects of s'Aid Republic, for their true, absolute and only account, danger, risk and benefit, has loaded aboard the sailing ship called "San Giobatta e Nostra Signora del Rosario", commanded by Patron Bernardo Amoretti Savojardo to carry and consign to Marsiglia in this present voyage of his, and to sell the below lot of oil on account of the s'Aid Varesi who gave him full authority ...".