A recent visitor to the town explained how, even though the number of pirates who actually take part in a hijacking is relatively small, the whole modern industry of piracy involves many more people.
"The number of people who make the first attack is small, normally from seven to 10," he said.
"They go out in powerful speedboats armed with heavy weapons. But once they seize the ship, about 50 pirates stay on board the vessel. And about 50 more wait on shore in case anything goes wrong."
Given all the other people involved in the piracy industry, including those who feed the hostages, it has become a mainstay of the Puntland economy.
Eyl has become a town tailor-made for pirates - and their hostages.
Special restaurants have even been set up to prepare food for the crews of the hijacked ships.
As the pirates want ransom payments, they try to look after their hostages.
When commandos from France freed two French sailors seized by pirates off the Somali coast this week, President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had given the go-ahead for the operation when it was clear the pirates were headed for Eyl - it would have been too dangerous to try to free them from there.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Life in a Somalia's Pirate Town
From the BBC's Life in a Somalia's Pirate Town