Crazy complaint of the Italian Navy against a Belgian and a Dutch

Two urban explorers were accused of espionage for entering an abandoned base

There are really surreal situations related to urban exploration. One of them has happened to two European urban explorers.

A bunker that still houses an old German WWII anti-aircraft gun in good condition
The interior of two well-preserved Third Reich batteries on a British island

The explorers are Dutchman Bob Thissen, 37, and Belgian Frank Brodala, authors of the excellent YouTube channel Exploring the Unbeaten Path. In January of last year they published a video exploring an abandoned underground base of the Italian Navy. You could see the video on, since I published it here, until some time later I saw that the video had disappeared and I deleted that post. I was surprised that the video disappeared, and I feared the worst, since it is not the first time that an exploration ends up having legal consequences for its authors.

Today Bob Thissen has published a video explaining what happened:

It turns out that the Italian Navy denounced them for having entered that base. Specifically, and as published by the Italian newspaper La Nazione in April, they were accused of two crimes: clandestine introduction into military facilities and unjustified possession of espionage means. They faced a possible sentence of one to five years in prison. The accusation was purely surreal. Is an ordinary camcorder a "means of espionage" and must its possession be justified in Italy? On the other hand, if it was a secret base, as La Nazione claims, how come it was not guarded and easily accessible?

The logical question to ask is: does the Italian Navy keep secrets in an abandoned base that anyone can access? In that case, the Italian Navy should be the one denounced for negligence in preserving those supposed secrets. The reality of the case is that these explorers showed an abandoned and poorly guarded base and that, in addition, it had asbestos remains that had not been removed, which left the Italian Navy looking bad. In the end, as Bob explains, it ended up with a fine, but the downside was the huge expense on lawyers, which prompted the explorers to ask their supporters for help. They can be helped at this Gofundme link.

Curiously, thanks to the video published by Exploring the Unbeaten Path, the asbestos has been removed from that base and access to it has been reinforced. The video of that exploration is now available again:

Facts like these encourage caution when exploring abandoned military compounds. In Europe we have authorities who are very picky about certain things (maintaining security at abandoned military bases is not one of them), and care should be taken. Of course, at this rate, and since you can be accused of any nonsense for entering any abandoned place, what do you suggest we do? Maybe we go back to confine ourselves to our homes as two years ago so as not to take risks? From here all my support for Bob and Frank in the face of the judicial nonsense they have suffered.

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