The vessel suffered engine and steering failure before colliding with the rock barge at the Varne Bank. As a result, the Saga Sky’s hull was damaged and she began taking on water, MANA correspondent reported.
Storm Angus was battering England's southern coast at the time. The 200 meter (650 foot), Hong Kong registered Saga Sky is now in a safe anchorage at Dungeness, after 12 of the crew remained on board to help move the vessel to safety.
Earlier, Coastguard Duty Commander Steve Carson said: "The weather conditions this morning are particularly challenging, and we have declared this a major incident," adding that two search and rescue helicopters were involved in the evacuation.
The port of Dover temporarily suspended ferry travel because of very high winds which the Met Office said had reached up to 80 miles per hour in exposed coastal locations.